MORE MARTINI TIPS
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MARTINI POSSIBLE!
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE - SHAKE YOUR 'TINI!
There is a big debate between the shakers and stirrers when it comes to martinis. The stirrers are proponents of the "no bruise" rule and are generally classic gin martini drinkers. You see, the reason folks will tell you not to shake a gin martini is you don't want to "bruise" the gin and destroy the juniper berry flavor of a high quality gin. This is kind of hogwash. Gin doesn't "bruise". What they're referring to is the dilution of the cocktail. Shaking adds more water which can disturb the taste and nose of the botanicals in gin. Shaking also adds air will muddies up the cocktail and it adds little ice shards unless well strained. All these are the reasons most folks don't shake.
Vodka is not so delicate an alcohol and shaking a vodka martini is favored over stirring. Why? Because you want a very cold martini and vodka can take it, no delicate botanicals to disturb. Shaking your martini allows for a quickly chilled martini with ice cold vodka, which is how vodka should be imbibed. Ask the Russians.
To aid in chilling your martini and keeping it chilled remember to chill your martini shaker and your martini glass. It helps to chill the ingredients as well - I like to keep my vodkas in the freezer. Alcohol does not freeze at normal home freezer temperatures and the alcohol stays really cold but still liquid.
WHAT IS A DASH?
No, it's not a race. A dash is a little bigger than a pinch. Oh, okay a dash is about 1/8 of a teaspoon or .02 fluid ounces.
THEN WHAT'S A PINCH?
Exactly what it says it is. A pinch of the amount of a dry ingredient that you can pinch between your forefinger and your thumb.
WHAT IS A SPLASH?
The Mac Daddy of "ishes" - about 1/4 to 1/2 ounce, usually based on personal preferences.
WHAT KIND OF ICE?
Either cubed or cracked ice will do, but do not use crushed ice as it will melt too quickly and dilute your drink. And please use filtered water to make your ice. Get those nasty tap water chemicals out of your martini.
WHAT KIND OF SHAKER SHOULD I USE?
Glass or stainless steel because they do not absorb flavors and won't taint your next martini. Plastic and aluminum will absorb minute amounts of the elements mixed in them and will eventually come to add flavors to your cocktails you didn't intend to add.
HOW LONG DO YOU SHAKE A MARTINI?
Just a few seconds, okay, around a minute at least. Long enough to chill the martini but not dilute the ingredients - watch for the shaker to frost up on the outside.
Chill your ingredients, chill your glasses and chill your shaker. Why? Because the colder all the elements the colder and more pure the flavor of the martini. Warm anything makes your martini watered down.
MY FREEZER'S TOO SMALL! HOW DO I CHILL MY GLASSES?
Simple - fill the martini glass with a few ice cubes and add some cold water and let that sit in your glass while you mix your martini. Be sure to pour this out and shake the glass to get out any extra water.
WHAT'S A DRUNKEN OLIVE - AN OLIVE LOOKING FOR A 501?
No, a drunken olive isn't going to get a D.U.I. - can your olives drive? But it is a wonderful taste sensation because it's been sitting in your drink soaking up all the nice alcohol - just like you. A wonderful end to a wonderful refreshing martini.
You can also serve drunken olives as an appetizer. Just toss a few of your favorite olives in a nice, sterilized jar, pour your vodka or gin over them and let them sit for a day or two.
BTW - you can make drunken fruits too and they're wonderful as garnish in my designer martinis as well as perfect toppings for pound cake and ice creams.
THE ICE MAN COMETH - HOW MUCH ICE SHOULD I USE?
What is ice for? To make things cold! So the more ice, the quicker your martini chills and the less watered down it gets! I usually put in enough ice to fill my ice cold shaker about 2/3's full.
WHY DO THEY CALL IT A "DRY" MARTINI WHEN IT'S ALL LIQUID?
The less vermouth used the "drier" the martini - why? Because regular (not dry) vermouth is somewhat sweet and the less sweet the more "dry" a drink is considered. It's sort of like dry humor - some people like it and some don't.
"Y" ARE MARTINI GLASSES SHAPED LIKE A BIG "Y"?
Because this shape allows the drinker to hold the glass in two different places without warming the martini - by the stem or at the rim, that's "Y". Martinis are always best served ice cold - like revenge!
The wide brim also allows for the release of the "bouquet" of your martini. (It wafts right up there and tickles your nose and gets your mouth ready!)
WHY CAN'T I ORDER A PITCHER OF MARTINIS?
Because, my flophouse friend, martinis are best served ice cold - serving them in a pitcher would allow them to warm up much too much and defeat all that hard work of chilling, mixing, shaking or stirring them to perfection! Pitchers are for beer and those tawdry margaritas.
Unless, or course, you think you can drink a 48 ounce martini in half an hour? And if you can and if you do - please switch back to beer. Martinis are to be sipped and savored not guzzled. We be sophisticated boozers here, ya know.
BTW, All of the above applies to all other cocktails as well.
Updated December 2015