Nothing evokes images of class and sophistication like a fine Martini. From the impeccably clad James Bond to the fine aristocratic gentleman of London England to the high class wall street bankers in New York, a martini is the perfect way to finish a day, close a deal, or just enjoy the finer things in life!

But what is a martini? Is it the glass? It is it ingredients? Is it the method? In actuality it is all three and more! The origins of the martini are a little murky, but one of my favorite stories is the New York version where a guy named Martini invented the drink. Other theories say an Italian drink company made the first one, or that the Martini came from the Martinez drink? Whatever the origin, most people agree that the original martini was a simple concoction of gin and vermouth!

A true gin martini is 3 parts gin and one part dry vermouth, garnished with a lemon twist or olives. From here you can make it drier and drier! A dry martini simply means less vermouth in the ratio. It is said that a true Englishmen will pour three parts of gin, wave the vermouth bottle over the glass and bow to the east—the direction of France where vermouth originated!

From this simple recipe, martinis have grown to become one of the most popular drinks in the world. The Martini glass with the long stem and open mouth(perfect to enjoy the aroma) has become the signature. Virtually anything you pour into the unique glass is called a martini! Name a flavor and you can probably find a ‘martini” recipe to satisfy your taste buds! Chocolate, peppermint, mango, cranberry, etc. The list can go on and on!

James Bond

Shaken, not stirred

James Bond, one of the most famous martini drinkers ever, prefers his martinis with an added touch of flavor and panache! The original Bond likes 3 parts Gordon’s Gin, 1 part vodka, and a half part Lillet Blanc. Shake it well and add the lemon peel. In the original Casino Royale book he called the delicious elixir the Vesper, after a female secret agent.

I prefer Vodka to gin. My Martini recipe is a little different. I first chill my martini glass, with a little ice. I then add some dry vermouth to the glass. I swirl the vermouth to coat the glass with a delicate film of vermouth flavor. After dumping the vermouth, I then add 2-3 oz. of Chopin Vodka to my shaker. I shake it with vigor and urgency then pour straight into the glass. 3 basic martini olives is a must—I need my veggies! The slight film of vermouth is perfect for my taste buds. I love Chopin Vodka. It is 100% potato vodka from Poland. It has a slight creaminess to the finish that I have never found in another vodka. It is wonderful!

True mixologists never shake their martinis. They prefer to stir it. Shaking a drink adds at least 23% more water to the mix. I like this because it is a little lower alcohol in the final drink. Purists like to stir because you get the truest expression of the products flavor. But it doesn’t matter what the experts say. Experiment and do what you like! The fun is in the journey not just the destination!

Without getting into the hundreds of other martinis, I have to mention another great recipe. The Dirty Martini. A Dirty Martini is for olive lovers. It is made just like you would make any other Gin or Vodka martini. But you add an ounce or two of olive juice from the olive jar. It takes the edge off the martini and really accentuates the flavors! They are fun and easy to make and are very environmentally sound! You use every bit of the jar of olives! No waste!

Martinis are simple to make, but are truly a classic. Sometimes the classic drinks are still best. Experiment and find your perfect ratio. There are dozens of great gin and vodkas you can try. Every libation has its own character and flavor. Don’t be afraid! You can never go wrong. Sometimes you will just like one better than the other! Cheers!!