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May 2007 - The Martini

Ahhhhh. The classic martini.  A true martini is little more than a couple of ounces of gin, yet this drink has inspired big business (martini lunch of the 80s) and has starred in movies (The Thin Man series, among others).  The classic martini should have only gin, vermouth and a garnish of olive or lemon peel.  A purist (like myself) will have it no other way. 

Gin Martin - shaken

A classic cocktail that every home bartender should know how to make. I personally like my martinis very dry, and just use a small spritzer to coat the shaker after adding the gin. I've had many a bad martini...lucky for me, my husband makes a great martini!  The glasses should be chilled, along with the gin and the vermouth.  Always use premium ingredients - a good (more expensive) gin will tantalize your taste buds with a plethora of flavours.  Tasting gin is actually a lot like tasting whisky - nose, taste, finish and balance. Some say use a glass jug and stir, not shake, your martini. Shaking bruises the gin.  I like mine shaken.  No damage done in my humble opinion! Ideally add the ice first, then the gin, followed by the vermouth.



3 oz gin

1 oz vermouth

Olives and/or lemon zest



1. Mix 3 parts gin to 1 part vermouth (the less vermouth, the drier the

martini) in a cocktail shaker with ice.

2. Shake (or stir). Strain and serve in a martini glass.

3. Garnish with green olives or a twist of lemon zest.


A good gin to try (if you can find it) is Magellan.  A good gin that is available in BC is Boomsma, a Dutch gin with lots of flavour.  Bombay Sapphire is another favourite.  If you are travelling to Washington or Oregon, look for organic gins made in Oregon. They are very flavourful. If you have a good gin you don't need to add the "modern martini" flavours such as cranberry juice.  Besides making it into a cocktail, no longer a martini, you loose the distinct and subtle flavours in a good gin.


Gin Martini - stirred


 2 oz.  Gin

 1/2 tsp.  dry vermouth  or to taste

Olive  or lemon twist



Stir gin and vermouth in a mixing glass with plenty of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive or lemon twist.


Other Variations:

Traditional - 2 parts gin, 1 part vermouth

Dry - 5 parts gin, 1 part vermouth

Extra Dry - 8 parts gin, 1 part vermouth

Sweet - 1 oz gin, 1 oz vermouth


Adapted from 1935 "The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book" (on line sources):

1 1/2 oz gin

1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, preferably Noilly Pratt

Dash orange bitters

1 tsp sugar syrup

lemon peel, twisted to release oils

olive garnish


Jackie, 2007

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