The martini: 5 classic recipes

September 24, 2016 01:00 PM
The classic Martini is one of the oldest cocktails in history, originating in the United States sometime in the 1870s.

The classic Martini is one of the oldest cocktails in history, originating in the United States sometime in the 1870s. Where the recipe came from is a story of much debate. But what we do know of the Martini is what it symbolizes: Status, elegance, sophistication, and when made properly, is a cocktail fit for every occasion. One of the best settings for enjoying a Martini is at home with guests. Here you will find the essential guide for some of the Martinis most classic preparations and styles. And remember; always serve your Martini straight up and properly chilled. By the way, we don’t consider the myriad popular flavored martinis as true martinis just because the use the same glass. If you can’t see through it, it is not a martini.

Vesper Martini

Can’t choose between vodka or gin? Serve them both in the iconic shaken, not stirred classic. Shake your cocktail until very chilled, as aeration and ice crystals were the desired trait for James Bond himself. Refreshing and sophisticated, the Vesper Martini still packs a punch.

2 oz. London Dry Gin

1 oz. Vodka

.5 oz. Lillet Blanc

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Method: Combine gin, vodka and lillet blanc in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake long and hard until properly diluted and chilled. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist, oils expressed over the top of the cocktail.

50/50 Martini

A lighter variation for easier drinking, the 50/50 Martini is increasing in popularity as quality vermouths gain new light and appreciation and bitters shine their light.

1.5 oz. London Dry Gin

1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth (such as Martini & Rossi Extra Dry)

1 Dash Orange Bitters (such as Angostura)

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Method: Combine gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir well for 20-30 seconds until very cold. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist, oils expressed onto the top of the cocktail.

The Gibson

Originated at the BLANK hotel, the Gibson is one of the most underrated of the Martinis and not to be forgotten. Stir this cocktail, as onion brine is much more delicate than olive.

2.5 oz. Vodka or Gin

.5 oz. Cocktail Onion Brine

Garnish: 3-5 Cocktail Onions, Skewered

Method: Combine vodka or gin and cocktail onion brine in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir for 20-30 seconds until very cold. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with 3-5 cocktail onions.

The Martini

The quintessential classic should be stirred, not shaken to allow the cocktail to retain its silky texture, and not be aerated. 

2.5 oz. London Dry Gin (such as Bombay Sapphire)

.5 oz. Dry Vermouth (such as Noilly Pratt Original Dry)

Garnish: Olive, Twist or both

Method: Combine gin and vermouth over a mixing glass filled with ice and stir well for 20-30 full seconds until very cold. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with an olive, a lemon twist, or both. 

The Dirty Martini

Choose a good quality olive packed in brine in a glass jar. Pimento stuffed olives are your most classic choice, but feel free to have fun with blue cheese, cornichon or even garlic stuffed olives of your liking. Because of the salt content in olive brine, shaking is generally the preferred method for the Dirty Martini.

2.25 oz. Vodka (Such as Grey Goose)

.75 oz. Olive Brine

Garnish: Pimento Stuffed Olives

Method: Combine vodka and olive brine in a mixing tin filled with ice. Shake hard and well until ice crystals are formed. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with 3 olives of your choice.

About the Author

Hillary Choo is an award-winning mixologist, brand ambassador and former bartender. Hillary has received multiple recognitions, most recently Top Ten Mixologists in Miami by The Miami New Times in 2013 and Bartender of the Year Miami by Eater. Hillary is Portfolio Ambassador Miami for Bacardi USA. Follow Instagram at HillaryChoo. @ohillaryo