The perfect martini. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

OK, it’s really gotten bad. I’d been ready to give up the fight. But I just can’t let this one go. I went up to the bar, I’m not even going say where, and asked for a martini.

The bartender, I shit you not, said, “Any preference of vodka?”

I left. I just left. Walked out.

I’ve gotten used to the question, “Vodka or Gin?,” grudgingly and have been told outright by Jonathan Gold to simply give it up, losing battle, he said.

But I can’t. I can’t. Names are important.

H.L. Mencken, as the martini Wiki entrance notes, calls this drink “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.” So true! And sonnets are not writ with Vodka, which is defined by tastelessness.  (The “vodka martini” should be referred to as a Kangaroo, “vodkatini,” or as one Twitterer suggested Lousy-tini.) My friend Paulius calls America “a nation lobotomized by vodka.”  Indeed, we’ve made vodka the most popular spirit in America in the same way we’ve made Wonder our bread choice, and Oscar Meyer quintessential mortadella.  (Our friends in Columbus, Middle West Spirits, are gunning to change this with a vodka that is actually flavorful, called OYO, bless them.)

And what’s with this “very dry” business?  Who started that idiotic trend? This open the vermouth and let the fumes pass over the glass?  If you can’t taste the vermouth, the martini hasn’t been made right. The classic proportions are the best, 5:1.  I prefer a twist. Unless I’m hungry, in which case I ask for olives. I prefer the gin and vermouth below, but I also like Hendrick’s and Plymouth gins.

The following recipe is for the perfect martini.  It’s a big one, because that’s the way it should be.  As MFK Fisher wrote of the martini, “One is just right, two is too much, and three is never enough.”

The Classic Martini

  • 90 grams Beefeater gin at room temperature
  • 18 grams Noilly Prat dry vermouth, cold
  • ice as needed
  • 1 twist (or olives)
  • I chilled martini glass (the colder the better, with sides angled no lower than 50 degrees; large shallow glasses tend to slosh)
  1. In a 2-cup measuring glass, combine the gin and vermouth.
  2. Fill the measuring glass with ice and stir more or less continuously for 90 seconds (I hate the shaken martinis with all the shattered ice floating in them).  It’s fine to pause while you retrieve glass from freezer, and ready the twist or olives.
  3. When the ice and alcohol have commingled for the appropriate time—you want about 30 to 40 grams of water to melt and soften the gin—strain the martini into the glass, and garnish it with the lemon or olives.

Yield: one 145-gram martini

 

If you liked this post on the perfect martini, check out these other links:

© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved

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110 Wonderful responses to “The Perfect Martini”

  • Matt Savas

    Mr. Ruhlman,

    I’m 25 and I know how martinis are meant to be made. And it’s not because I walk around Brooklyn with coke bottle glasses with a t-shirt that says “Yank My Chicken to Holler for Cock.” It’s because I like gin. Fear not, sir. There are young folks out there ready to protect your drink. But allow me one criticism: what the hell is with the scale? Are you gonna bake that thing? Actually, that’s not such a bad idea. Thanks for the great posts!

    • Jesse

      I couldn’t agree more with you Matt. I am actually a baker and along with my job, you Michael were the one who convinced me to start using a scale years ago, and now I cannot live without it. I also love the post and agree there is a proper way to make a great cocktail and people should realize this and learn the proper way but bringing out s scale to measure? Untuck your shirt, relax we not making souffles here.

      • Ryan Silva

        Actually, a scale can be really handy for measuring poured liquids since you can zero out the previous thing you poured. And measuring 18 grams is a heck of a lot easier than trying to pour a large bottle of vermouth into a tablespoon. (1 tablespoon + 1/2 tsp, to be slightly more precise).

      • Sharon

        I always use a scale to make drinks. Measurements are always in grams or ounces, which my scale measures. I don’t see how it’s that much different from measuring in a measuring cup.

    • Deanna B.

      I’m 24 and I always get the weirdest looks when I order a martini out. All my “friends” order vodka martinis (usually of the fruity variety) and I’m always praying the restaurant has Hendricks.

    • Mary

      Matt, you witty man. I’d like to have a drink with you, but the chicken would have to go! LOL

      • Matt Savas

        Mary, I’d love to take you up on it. Unfortunately, I live in Japan, but next time I’m back stateside, I’ll send you another reply on Mr. Ruhlman’s fine blog.

    • BJ

      Scale is to measure 90 liquid grams, for amateurs. A good bartender, chef, or alcoholic can visualize “three fingers”, and pour the correct amount, due to repetition. Believe me, plus or minus a few ounces really makes a difference. So unless you know what 90 grams looks like (slightly more than 3 Oz, or a big shot), get a scale.

  • John Pula

    For the uninitiated, for water 1 gram equals 1 milliliter, which is probably close enough for gin and vermouth as well.

    Michael, I know you have a penchant for weights, but I don’t think you’ll have the variance with liquids you see with, say, flour.

    Lastly, if you think it’s hard to find a good martini, try finding a proper old fashioned.

  • nrich

    I started making the perfect martini at home 15 years ago… (the kind that frosts the glass when you pour it)… have had a good and properly made martini, while out, 3 times since! My favorite is when you ask your server for it cold and they shake it like a margarita. Takes 2 min. for it to lose all the froth and suspended air!

  • Andrea

    James Bond is clearly to blame for the vodka. I nominate Hawkeye Pierce for to blame for the dry martini.

    This is why I ask for a G&T.

    • Mark Amidon

      As do I, but at that ratio, you _must_ know your vermouth. Bartenders that cheerfully say, “Yes, we have Martini & Rossi!” get my response, “Make it dry”.

      Noilly Prat for a 2:1 martini. I’m open to trying artisanal vermouths, but I’ll probably ask for a small glass from your pitcher.

  • Andy

    Amen, brother!

    I think overwhelming preference for blandness and the spirits industry is to blame for the vodka. Go look at the liquor store. It’s 60% vodka and 40% everything else.

    Fortunately, there are holdouts and some great new (which is to say old) gins.

  • Hugh

    I’ve all but given up on ordering cocktails anywhere except dedicated cocktail bars. I’m tired of getting ice chips in my Manhattans, because the bartender shook the dickens out of it, among other insults. I’m thinking the Negroni craze is partly fueled by the fact that it’s so hard to mess up.

  • karen downie makley

    M.R.– you may feel more comfort and less aggravation with the world at large (what with all of their no-salt, low-fat, convenience-packaged, vodka-swilling ways) if you remember that good taste is special because not everyone has it.

  • chad

    In step 2, you’re using the word “still” as a verb… Could you also say “Fill the measuring glass with ice and don’t touch it”? Or does “still” mean something else? I’m asking in the spirit of ignorance – definitely not criticizing your post. I really like this post.

  • Tony

    Agreed – gin, not vodka
    Agreed – need a reasonably sloped glass
    However, a scale? The last place I want to drink has a bartender pouring based on a digital readout of grams. Way to set a precedent for ultra-pompous hipster foodies. Maybe you should have your Thermapen give the correct value for room temperature so there is no seasonal variation of the recipe

  • Speel Chucker

    @chad

    ‘still’ should be ‘stir’ then out makes sense.

  • Jesse

    I completely agree with you Matt. I am actually a baker, and along with my job it was you Michael that convinced me to start to using a scale years ago. I love the post and agree that people should learn the proper way to make a classic drink such as this, but bringing out a scale to measure? Untuck the shirt and relax. Were not making souffles here.

  • Jeff

    Michael I feel you pain. This strikes near and dear to my heart. Martini = GIN and Vermouth. End of story. Chocolatini, Appletini, Flirtini etc. etc. – not a Martini. These and their ilk are just foo foo drinks who’s only resemblance to the great American classic is the glass they are served in.

    • cleek

      i tried convincing my wife that simply putting something into a conical glass does not make it a “martini”… while she was reading the two-page “martini” list at a restaurant, last weekend.

      it was hopeless.

  • John

    For what it’s worth, “perfect martini” in cocktail nomenclature could be interpreted as a martini with equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth.

    I like Plymouth, Noilly Prat, couple drops of orange bitters, twist 4-1.

    A local chef recently opened a butcher shop and is selling preserved lemons. I was asking him about uses other than North African food and one of his suggestions was a cocktail garnish. Good way to get the saltiness of the olive garnish without an olive. I have not tried it yet.

  • Liz

    I’m not snobbish about too many food and drink related things, but I am totally with you on this. A martini has gin. period. full stop. Plymouth and Blue Coat gins–because they are “cleaner” with fewer aromatics than my usual fave, Bombay Sapphire, make the best ones. I’ve heard that Citadelle is also quite nice.

  • Michael Barrett

    Please don’t store your vermouth at room temperature – unless you consume it all in a day or two. Vermouth spoils like any wine. It doesn’t have the alcohol content of gin to scare away the bugs.

    • Allison

      Thanks for this. It makes sense but I had never thought of it.

  • Nick Cane

    Yep. 25 and we always keep a 1.75 of hendricks at the house. Best stuff in the world.

  • DaleJ

    Take it from one who has enjoyed two gin martinis every evening since 1969, (You can do the math.) The gin is Gordon’s, the ratio is six to one and the gin is kept in the freezer, eliminating the stir- shake nonsense.

    • Mantonat

      The problem with that is that the ice needs to melt just a little to so you have a small amount of water in the finished product. If the gin is too cold, it won’t melt any of the ice and you won’t be able to taste the aromatics.

  • Joe G.

    I chime on behalf of Plymouth as well. (I’m ecumenical on the vermouths; not yet found the ideal one.) Also, that a scale may be useful the first time (to control for any possible variations in density in the liquids) but once that has been swatted away, careful measurement by volume will suffice.

    (Still, a scale for drinks. VERY Cool.)

  • Victoria

    The words vodka and martini do not belong in the same sentence.

    Plymouth is my gin, and I definitely use dry vermouth. Otherwise, it’s not a martini; it’s just gin. However, I do shake, shake, shake, but since it’s YOU, I will follow your instructions to the letter and see if I prefer it stirred, not shaken.

    I like a twist, I like olives, and I like Tipsy Onions, which turn it into a gibson.

  • chad

    “Stir” makes much more sense. And makes me feel better about my vocabulary.

  • Carri

    I love all the comments…way to get everyone all worked up. I bet a lot of gin gets sold this afternoon. I know I’m craving one and it’s only 7 am.

  • Josh

    If vodka is tasteless, than gin tastes like Christmas trees. No thanks… I’ll stick with my “vodka-tini’s” and be equally as pretentious about them.

    • Mary Alice Kropp

      Absolutely with you there! I can agree that with vodka, it is not a classic martini. But to dismiss vodka across the board? I just don’t like gin, except in gin and tonic. So I will have my vodka + vermouth, extra olives, please, and sit over here in the corner and enjoy it.

      I also find there are differences in taste in different vodkas. Much more subtle than gin, yes, but they do vary.

  • Mike

    Martinis are like breasts – one is not enough and three is too many.

  • Michael

    I agree, a martini must be made of gin. However, it also must contain an olive and no lemon twist. If it has an onion, it is a Gibson. If it has a twist, it needs a new name. Martinis are made of gin, vermouth and an olive. Full stop.

    • Will

      Michael
      I agree, a martini must be made of gin. However, it also must contain an olive and no lemon twist. If it has an onion, it is a Gibson. If it has a twist, it needs a new name. Martinis are made of gin, vermouth and an olive.

      If you look at the old Martini recipes in the link I posted (http://thejerrythomasproject.blogspot.com/2012/03/martinez-what-jerry-thomas-said-it-was.html — starting halfway down the page, below the Martinez recipes), aromatic or orange bitters (bitters being a defining element of a “cocktail” vs. other mixed drinks, if you want to be really pedantic) were also in all of the early versions. The lemon twist is mentioned in almost all of the early recipes, as far back as the late 1800s. One of the earliest published recipes from 1888 calls for the lemon twist, and either a cherry or an olive as garnish. So, at the least, I don’t think you can say that the lemon twist is inauthentic, even if you don’t prefer it.

  • Mary Alice Kropp

    I’m willing to grant you that made with vodka, it is not a classic martini. But- slamming vodka across the board? Hey, I like you, Mr. Ruhlman, I really do. But I do not like gin. So give me vodka + vermouth, with an extra olive, and I don’t really care what you call it. I’ll be over here in my corner, enjoying it. ;)

  • kerrys

    My favorite martini quote is by Dorothy Parker:

    I like to have a martini
    two at the most
    after three I’m on the floor
    after four I’m under the host

  • kerrys

    screwed up.

    line 3 should read after three I’m user the table

  • Pat

    I believe it was James Thurber, not MFK Fisher, who said “One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.” and Dorothy Parker who said “I like to drink martinis. Two at the most. Three I’m under the table, four I’m under the host.” However, we sympathize with you here in San Francisco. Our Gibson requests are always greeted with “vodka or gin?” when they should certainly be gin, and sometimes they arrive with Rose’s Lime Juice in them! Horreur!

  • KBCraig

    I love a classic martini, but lately my cocktail of choice (when I have a cocktail) is my own invention: the Dirty Greek Martini.

    It’s made with two jiggers of Bombay Sapphire, half jigger of the dry vermouth in which my garlic-stuffed olives are packed, and two olives.

    And yes, I shake the crap out of it, enjoying the tiny slivers of ice that infuse the drink.

  • Frank

    amen brother.
    now how about addressing people calling grilling barbecuing. what i do with a big piece of pork overnight is not the same thing some dude does with a weiner in a few minutes.

  • Tim Rattay

    Michael, great post! Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to know a great bartender who I trust and go to for a well made cocktail. A go-to for me has been the Gibson, similar to the martini (gin, vermouth, but a pickled onion garnish). For me, It’s perfection when made with Citadelle.
    It’s the drink Cary Grant asks for on the train in North by Northwest while sitting across from Eva Marie Saint… growing up watching Hitchcock films is what sparked my interest to find out what the Gibson was… Thank God for knowledgable and skilled bartenders!

  • Hugh L

    I’m not alone !!!! Bless You !!! You know I feel like I’m alone or a fool when I have to specify gin for my martini. I’ve argued with many a waitperson and bartender, “there is no vodka in a martini”…..

  • BillR

    Michael, I’m a huge fan. I’ve bought all your books, and have been working my way through Charcuterie. Loved Ratio. I check your web site near daily.

    But I got to say: vodka, vermouth and two onions is a darn fine drink. Whether it’s a martini or not I don’t know. But it’s darn tasty.

    Of course, it helps that I’m allergic to some of the things in gin.

  • Vidas

    I’m all for gin and quality olives in my martini. Enjoy finding places that make them well during my travels. What has me really turned upside down is a Lithuanian seemingly dissing vodka ?

  • Dave P

    Great post. If it doesn’t have gin (I prefer Hendricks or Tanqueray 10) and dry vermouth, then it’s not a martini. I happen to like olives in my martini, but never vodka.

  • Judie B.

    Michael, my vermouth of choice for my martinis was always Noilly Prat until I discovered Vya vermouth. In my opinion, it makes the BEST martini. Are you familiar with Vya and what do you think?

  • Darren

    I generally follow this recipe, but my change up is the gin. I have a “perfect” gin mix. Equal parts Millers, Bombay Sapphire, and Beefeater. so in Mr. R’s recipe it’d be 30g of each. The mix also makes a very, very good tom collins. I do like them shaken though. The icy spicules tickle the tongue and tame the gin by melting as he states above. And I go sans garnish usually.

  • Lisa

    My husband of 43 years makes the best GIN martinis. Boodles, Martini (4pts)and Rossi dry vermouth (1pt), EVERYTHING is icy cold and the whole thing is put into the freezer until it’s slushy. Twist. I am the chef who prepares the twist. Served very very cold. Need one now. I don’t see when the magic is created but I get the benefits of it. He’s the best!

  • Rebecca

    I just made mine with Bombay Sapphire. Got out the scales and everything. Sheer heaven in a glass! I used to do the really dry bit. No more! Thank you for helping me see the light.

  • Will

    Interesting post. Unfortunately, I think the battle has already been lost w/r/t what people consider a Martini, though it still bugs me when people want one that a) contains vodka or b) doesn’t contain vermouth.

    I’m confused where you get that 5:1 is the “classic” ratio — I guess it depends on how “classic” you want to get. Most of the very early Martini recipes here (below the Martinez recipes) have equal parts gin and vermouth.

    http://thejerrythomasproject.blogspot.com/2012/03/martinez-what-jerry-thomas-said-it-was.html

    Regarding “very dry” — I could be wrong, but I believe that “dry martini” has more to do with the fact that dry (white) vermouth is used rather than sweet vermouth, than the ratio of gin to vermouth. A “perfect” martini uses both sweet and dry vermouth.

    Personally, while I’ve made martinis and had well-made martinis, I still prefer either a Manhattan or a Martinez any day of the week. I don’t understand the hate for vermouth, though… if you don’t want vermouth, don’t get a Martini!

    • Roy

      I also recall learning that the “dry” refers to dry vermouth rather than a quantity of vermouth. So people have always sounded doubly wrong to me when ordering a “very dry vodka martini”–shouldn’t that mean extra dry vermouth?

      @ KBCraig, your dirty greek sounds great. I prefer my olives stuffed with feta. I prefer Hendricks for martinis, but highly recommend Junipero gin as a nice sipping beverage.

  • Will

    ps – The measuring cup is a great idea (and far preferable to shaking it). But for folks who want something a little more stylish, the Japanese mixing glasses and barspoons are really a joy to work with (and if you pre-chill a heavy mixing glass in the freezer, you can get your drink really cold, though you do sometimes have to stir longer to get the right dilution).

  • allen

    I’m on my 4th one, followed to a tee except for one. that I tweeked. Math is about 20% vermouth, 90gr to 18 gr. you ain’t gonna bitch about that.
    Verdict is: don’t fkn argue with Ruhlman,. this is so smooth and the one I tweeked by adding a diiferent gin and a little less vermouth was inferior.
    My only issue is the twist. I’m going to have to go all Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) on that twist… I need a good olive, not some mushy tepid crap, and not just one, but three!
    Hit the olive bar at Whole Paycheck Market (whole foods market) if you can get to a Dean and Deluca get the blue cheese stuffed olives, or better yet make some of the Egyptian cured olives from Ruhlman’s olive post. Type in olives in the search bar and it’s linked to the NY times article in the comments. That is what I am having and THAT IS THE SHIZNIT! DRINKING MY GIN AND JUICE. FK YEAH! BOOYAKASHA!!!

  • Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie)

    We are protective of our martinis! I would not have guessed. I am guilty of shaking but after reading this, I think I will be stirring. I usually keep my gin (not vodka unless I am desperate) in the freezer, but not always. I like a twist of lemon and will try the idea of preserved lemon twist. That sounds like an idea. In fact, I will be buying a bottle of Citadelle or Hendricks just so I can try that preserved lemon idea. Great post and great comments.

  • Edwin

    You’ve got to fight, for your right, to parrrrr-ty.
    Way to go Michael, to stand up for a ‘classic’, that is trying to hang on against the popular vodka.

  • Will

    One other thing – vermouth, especially dry vermouth, does not last as long as liquor. There’s some debate about whether to store in the fridge or not (we usually store it in the wine fridge so it’s cool, but away from odors), but even if stored in a cool place, the shelf life of dry vermouth is not very long.

    While it’s probably not essential to spend a lot on a vermouth for mixing, I think using a good quality vermouth does help. I like Dolin a lot for both dry and sweet vermouth; for sweet vermouth, Carpano’s Antica Formula is amazing (even to drink on its own).

  • Ben

    Have you tried Watershed gin? It’s from Columbus (like OYO) and is remarkably good. Strong citrus/grapefruit notes.

    • Will

      I have had the sweet one before and liked it. I haven’t ever tried the dry one.

  • Miss Cherry Jones

    I like the classic martini…with vodka. A good vodka. And no fruit, except the twist or olive. The reason? I don’t like gin. Yes, we do exist. I can’t stand that resiny, piney flavor. I’ve tried many different ones, just to be sure. I still can’t.

  • Jessica

    This post comes off as affected and snobbish. I mean, seriously, you WALKED OUT? Did you throw in a “Suh, well I NEVAH!” as you tossed your silk scarf over your shoulder and picked up your man purse? That bartender if used to people ordering vodka martinis. If you wanted gin, all you had to say was “actually, I prefer gin.” Or you could have grinned and said “Beefeater.” Although I guess that would require a sense of humor.

  • Sharon

    Unless your goal is to be pretentious, superior and annoying, there’s an easy way around that situation — simply order your gin of choice up front, as in “I’ll have a Beefeater martini, please.” Everyone wins that way.

    • Mantonat

      The point is that modern bartending and tastes have ruined the martini. You shouldn’t have to order your martini like it’s a Starbucks drink. Come to think of it, you shouldn’t have to order your coffee that way either.

      It’s like going to the grocery store and seeing “vegetables” and “organic vegetables.” Shouldn’t the options be “vegetables” and “chemically grown, semi-toxic vegetables?”

      Seems like if people don’t like what they hear, they just use “pretentious” to mean “defender of truth,” but in a somehow negative way.

  • Theodore

    Spot on post especially in terms of the vermouth. I’m partial to Plymouth or the classic Bombay (not Sapphire) myself for the gin – though nothing wrong with the classic Beefeater.

    I recently moved to Cleveland from NYC and having a tough time finding a quality liquor store. Any recommendations?

  • Kevin Locke

    “In school they told me, “Practice makes Perfect”. And then they told me, “Nobody’s Perfect”, so I stopped practicing.” Steven Wright. So is there really a “Perfect Martini”? Michael has his favorite, and many others have theirs, but are we really talking about “perfect” or “classic” or “the original”? The Washington Post sites an original recipe containing orange bitters and a cherry for garnish, Epicurious also references the bitters, but with a lemon slice. My Mr. Boston says the original recipe was 50/50 gin and vermouth. Maybe we need to just tell the bartender how we’d like our drink prepared and not just expect everyone to know the set definition of one drink, or just find a good bar with a talented bartender and let them wow us with their creations. In the end though Michael, I enjoy your passion. Cheers!

  • Craigkite

    You hit real close to home with this post. I like Boodles and Plymouth, but settle for Bombay, Tanqueray, or Beefeaters. For years I ordered a VERY dry martini with a twist in bars. An older friend heard me ordering when we were at a business dinner. “You are not fond of vermouth?” he asked. “Not really,” I responded. “Bring two double Tanqueray’s, rocks, twist.” He solved my aversion to the spiced wine. Now, if I could only get mixologists to understand that a twist is NOT a lemon wedge and that lime doesn’t enter the equation at all.

  • Kurt Doles

    I died a little bit on the day they closed the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel overlooking Central Park….still the best Hendricks/”just threaten it with the vermouth” Martini ever, mixed by guys who’d been behind the stick for 20+ years. They treated you WELL there, especially if you knew how to order and were dressed appropriately (that place was doomed when they started letting gentlemen in without a coat). Sigh.

  • Victor

    Honestly, this is somewhat old news. But that’s ok. Martinis are like any colloquialism; they are defined by the most prevalent usage. Those of us who know the joys of proper mixology will continue to carry the torch and hope to enlighten others along the way.

    I think your 5:1 ration could be defined as very dry. I prefer 2:1, and I always add a dash of bitters to make the drink a true “cocktail”. I like any good Vermouth, but lately I’ve been making my Martinis with Lillet Blanc, and a dash of grapefruit bitters. I’m very fond of Citadelle gin, but there ar so many wonderful distillations these days, one can hardly go wrong.

    • John

      I personally wouldn’t go anywhere near 2-1 with Noilly Prat, at least since they changed the formula a few years back as it would overwhelm any gin (as would Lillet in that ratio, in my opinion). I like Vya at 3-1 though and that is my preference for a more vermouth oriented Martini.

      • EdTheRed

        Amen to that. I still have a (dwindling) stockpile of the original US formula Noilly Prat in my cellar, for special occasions (once you open a bottle, you’ve got to use it up pretty quickly). The new (“original” Euro formula) stuff may be a better aperitif than the old stuff, but it’s not really dry enough for my preferred vermouth-heavy ratios (usually I go either 4-1, 3-1, or 2-1).

        Leonardini works well as a substitute. Dolin does, too, but I’m not sure it’s worth the price.

        And a plague upon the house of whatever management consulting firm convinced Noilly Pratt to save money by ceasing production of their martini-friendly US version.

        For the gin, I usually use Tanqueray or Beefeater, but when I feel like splurging a bit, Bluecoat makes a really nice martini.

  • Mike

    If you want a truly traditional Martini, the first written recipe used Plymouth Gin and Noilly Prat. Stirred, strained, add one drop of orange bitters and garnish with one skewered olive.

  • Josh

    Was it really worth trudging across town in a snit? Do you think the barman cursed himself for the rest of the evening? Or briefly wondered “Why is that queen having a hissy fit?”

    I’m equally passionate about the vodkatini. I’m just not fascist about it.

  • Mr. Goose

    MR-
    I love Vodka and have no problem admiting this. Nothing to me is better than a double GG on the rocks with a splash of tonic and a lime.If that makes me uncultured or less civilized, I can live with it. Then again I occasionally eat processed foods and thin Oscar Meyer Bologna Sandwich’s on Wonder Bread with French’s Mustard is not such a bad thing every once in a while for sake of childhood nostalgia.

    Not entering the Great Martini Debate. I happen to love Gin too..I just wanted to say Vodka (Good Vodka) is not such a bad thing..

  • Josh

    Hmmmm, I see that any anti-gin comments get deleted, okie doke…

    None the less, I still prefer my tasteless vodka over the christmas-tree-in-a-bottle that is gin.

    I generally love your pretentiousness but this article rubbed me the wrong way.

    • ruhlman

      no, I only delete harmful comments, haven’t deleted any vodka comments. have been on road and haven’t even read all these comments and just getting to them now! this site is all about passionate back and forth!

  • KimNB

    It is a nice recipe for a classic martini done the way you prefer. You are a skilled chef and provider of recipes to help expand our appreciation of food. I would encourage you to stick to that aspect. The rants such as this and the silly diatribe against round spoons only come across as whiny and sanctimonious. I suspect you are a better person than that.

  • Gerry Jobe

    What a pretentious load of crap. It’s this type of attitude that’s doing nothing positive for the craft of bartending. Instead of leaving, you should have parked your High Horse, sat down and talked about the craft with the bartender, instead of acting like a pompus twit. Bartending and Bartender culture isn’t this cool club that only we belong to. When this scenario happens to me, I try my best to educate, and include. Besides a lousy attitude, what are you contributing? PS: Vodka doesn’t have a taste, but it does have a palatable strength (Heat) considering what it’s made from and how it’s distilled, and people (customers-Not bartenders) have preferences. Wake up.

  • Glenn Kutner

    The true Martini is a drink of, (dare I say it?) ratio’s. There is a recipe to adhere to, there is tradition to bow to and there are tastebuds a’waiting.

  • Kurt Hernon

    Make them simply call the Vodka concoction by name – a Kangaroo…that will make it disappear! Thank you for stirring Ruhlman, that’s the other issue I find in my drinking spots. They all want to shake the damn thing.

  • Bobby Jay

    Michael:

    Tried your recipe because I respect you so much, but I have to say I prefer the ones you consider too dry. I just rinse the glass with Vermouth and use cold gin to minimize the amount of ice that melts. The method works for Vodkatinis, too; my wife just loves them this way. I agree with you on Beefeater, but sometime use Sapphire, for a very different, but still good, taste. Heretically, I sometimes use a small tabasco pepper instead of an olive, which produces an interesting taste profile.

  • allen

    We had another sampling – total abuse at 4 again, my wife was smart and had just one with the twist and loved it. I think the 90/18gr is perfect size, but sneaky enough to make you loose your judgment after 2.

    I would like to chime in about bitters, I started making them after seeing all of the little bottles at the bar from the Aviation cocktail post a while back finding great recipes on Chow.com. They have become more popular since then and there are now some good books out there on how to make them. They make great gifts.

    I do not have the refined palate or taste judgment to find out what all they go good with but I did make a Dark and Stormy with lime bitters and love other flavors in the Manhattan, Martinez and the Negroni. I could not tolerate another sampling of martinis to distinguish if they add any value – lets face it – it’s basically poison, but fun once in a while.
    The bitters aspect has the benefit of aiding digestion, you can just take a dab of straight bitters (no alcohol) with an upset stomach and it will settle it. I think it’s the gentia root.
    Orange bitters for the Ransom Old Tom gin Martinez, or the Negroni, Bartlett pear bitters for a whiskey sour and the traditional bitters for the Manhattan. There are also some fantastic vermouth’s that have bitter quality – previously mentioned Antica Carpano, and it’s mate – the fantastic Punt E Mes, and the bitters liquors – cute little Underberg bottles from Germany, Averna, Campari, Fernet Branca (I wish I could find a recipe for homemade Fernet)

  • Darcie

    Amen, Mr. Ruhlman! For year I have been repeating the mantra “it’s not a martini if doesn’t have gin, and I don’t give a damn what James Bond says.” For those who think that this is pedantic, then what’s the point of having a name at all? Let’s just grunt and point to the bottles. I’m with John above: Plymouth (but will sub Hendrick’s or Beefeaters if necessary), N&P, 4:1, dash of orange bitters, stirred gently so I don’t bruise the gin. I know what I’m having when I get home tonight–too bad it’s only 10:00 a.m.!

  • Mantonat

    Here in Denver there’s an amazing distillery called Leopold Bros, which makes one of the best gins I’ve ever had. Not sure how widely available it is outside Colorado, but the NY Times put it on a list of 10 best American small-batch gins. They also just came out with a Navy-strength gin that may be one of the best distilled spirits I’ve ever had.

  • John

    A little late to the party but I think only Noilly Prat and Vya have been mentioned here. Dolin makes an excellent vermouth which I have been using at home and a few bars in Kansas City are carrying rather than Martini and Rossi or Noilly Prat. Their dry vermouth is a cocktail oriented vermouth (light in color, very dry) whereas Noilly Prat switched a few years back to a more aperitif oriented vermouth (yellow, too sweet to be called dry) to the detriment of its utility in cocktails, in my opinion. Vya is outstanding but Dolin is less expensive and more widely available and also outstanding. They also make a sweet vermouth and a white (blanco) vermouth which is the aperitif version.

  • Charlotte

    Last summer I took to repurposing old booze bottles. Stuff bottle with herbs from the garden — in my case, summer savory, thyme, sage, tarragon — then add lemon peel (about half a lemon), pink peppercorns, coriander seed. Fill bottle with cheap vodka. Put in the canning closet for a couple of weeks to a couple of months. My very own bathtub gin.
    Lately, I’ve been making a cocktail of bathtub gin, lime juice, and tonic. Also, quite good is a splash of bathtub gin in a glass of white wine — a kind of apertif-y thing.

    That said — I love real gin and can’t stand vodka as a thing on its own.

  • Heather

    Do you store your vermouth at room temperature? I wouldn’t want to wait for it to come up to room temp to make the drink, and it goes bad stored at room temp. Or maybe you go through it VERY quickly.

  • DMT

    What’s the verdict on the new formulation of Noilly Prat? When they changed it I ran out and bought up as much of the old as I could find and am still working off that.

  • Victoria

    Last night I was out to dinner in NYC with some friends, and I noticed that the bartender had some martini glasses filled with ice sitting on the bar. I made a comment, and he said they were “Chiilin like Bob Dylan.”

  • Wilma de Soto

    Don’t remember who said it but my favorite martini quote, possibly a “twist” on Thurber is, “One is not enough, two are too many, three, perfect.”

  • John Miller

    I must comment that Tanquerey is much better gin than Beefeater’s. The Noilly Prat is a good suggestion, but the Beefeaters is not. Recall that the Beefeaters all died early deaths from atherosclerosis. Shows you want can happen to you when you don’t demand the best gin with your roast beef!

  • Rob

    Absolutely (bad choice of word) the Martini is gin not vodka. But what’s with mixing drinks by weight, not volume? I understand it when baking because dry ingredients can vary in weight to volume but liquids? A little pretentious methinks but you’re fighting the good fight so I’ll give you a Mulligan on this.

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