A Smoky Martini – Courtesy Ketel One Vodka
One of the classiest classic cocktails is the martini. The basic recipe calls for only two ingredients, gin and vermouth. But within that simple pairing rests a near infinity of variation, from using sweet or dry vermouth and its ratio to gin, to the type of gin (a London Dry type recommended), and even if the garnish should be a lemon peel or olive.
If you are new to cocktail mixing, start by making a martini. Even if it’s the only drink in your repertoire, you’ll wow your college buddies and appear more debonair than beer or yes, even wine drinkers. And nothing’s says sultry femme fatale than a lady sipping a stiff martini.
Try the classic, 2 oz. gin to 1 oz. dry vermouth first, and consider how it tastes to you. If you can afford it, use two different types of gin (Hendrick’s, Plymouth, Beefeater or Beefeater 24, and Oregon’s Aviation are good ones). Many martinis are stirred, not shaken, so as not to “bruise” the gin. Try lemon, lime, and green olive garnishes. If you still can’t finish a whole martini, soften the blow with sweet vermouth, and repeat the attempts. If dry vermouth isn’t strong enough, the Smoky Martini uses whisky with gin. And if you really can’t stand gin, go to vodka.
Northern barbarians disguising themselves as gentlemen may like this Russian-Irish version, courtesy of Ketel One.
- 1 ½ oz. Ketel One Vodka
- ¾ oz. Oban 14 single Malt Scotch whisky
Add both into a shaker with ice, shake, strain into a chilled glass. No garnish for this, just steel yourself against the chilling Lethe-like liquid with the barest hint of smoke.
The martini has been abused of late, with every type of soda-flavored spirits creating fruit “tinis,” which does a great disservice to one of the strongest libations in the market. Ignore the fruity ones; stick with the purity of high-proof in this potation. There’s no doubt that if you have a martini, you’re looking for a buzz.
Ketel One can be found in many Southland markets, and Oban is available at BevMo, K&L Wines Hollywood, and the Wine House. Check you local liquor store as well.
Disclosure: Ketel One PR supplied me with a bottle of vodka.
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