Dry Martini – the cocktail of cocktails. Everyone knows this classy classic, or at least what it looks like. Clear spirits and an olive in a cocktail glass – later the style of glass was named after the drink it served the most, people refereed to it as a martini glass. You have probably heard about everything from Dry Martini and Vesper to Martinez, Vodka martini, Appletini, French Martini etc etc and what these drinks have in common is that they are gin and/or vodka based stirred (except the Vesper) drinks served in a martini glass.
I will tell you a bit about the Dry Martini.
The ingredients, and ratio?
GIN & DRY VERMOUTH
There are differnet opinions in the measurements of the ingredients in a Dry Martini. It has gone from a 1:1 ration with equal parts gin and dry vermouth from the drinks early days back in 1870s’ – it originated from the drink Gin & It that used equal parts Gin and Italian Sweet (!) Vermouth but in the 1870s’ when both sweet and dry vermouth spread widely across the world, the sweet vermouth was replaced by the French and dry and the ration changed to 3:1 gin/dry vermouth, which made the drink a true hit.
Over the years bartenders and connoisseurs played around with the measurements and some places you find bartenders using more of a 20:1 ratio, just coating the martini glass with the vermouth – pouring a dash in and swirling the liquid in the glass so it covers the whole surface and then pour the rest out, or just spraying the cocktail with vermouth after stirring it… This is not a Dry Martini to me.
The point of the Dry Martini cocktail is to mix the already distinct flavoured gin with the dry vermouth to create a new flavour. Not to enhance the gin with a touch of vermouth. The vermouth isn’t there for the gin but with it. You get me? I make it a 5:1 ratio. It has to be ice cold and well stirred – not too long but not too little. Preferably use already chilled spirits and a chilled glass to serve it in.
OLIVE AND/OR LEMON PEEL
Either you can garnish the drink with an olive, a lemon peel or both! I recommend organic and I prefer both. Actually I like my Dry Martini dirty – that means you add a bar spoon of the olive brine (make sure it’s fresh) too the cocktail.
NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE
The Brittish claim it’s named after a gun
the Italians company Martini & Rossi takes credit for it’s name
and some say it’s named after Martini di Arma di Taggia – bartender at Knickerbocker Hotel in New York
Why such a popular drink?
RECOGNITION AND STYLE
Finally I’d like to quote Kazuo Uyeda – author of Cocktails Techniques
“Not just the drinkers, but many bartender use this transparent liquid as a vehicle of philosophical expression”
What I believe he wants to tell us with this phrase is that the Dry Martini is a aesthetically appealing and an interesting combination of the distinct flavour of gin – a taste that can be spotted by both pros and amateurs – and dry vermouth that balance it. It’s a cocktail in which anyone can separate the ingredients and look classy (maybe event mysterious) with.
Anyway, me and two friends here in Berlin had a little dinner party in December and we spontaneously made dry martinis, what a joy! We didn’t have any olives so I looked for lemon which is a adequate substitute and a preference to some, but we didn’t have lemon either so I used orange peel to stir the drink and perfume the glasses with before discard it.
70 ml cold Gin (London dry)
15 ml cold Dry Vermouth
olives and/or lemon peel
✴︎ stir with ice and strain over chilled martini glass
✴︎ garnish with olives and/or lemon peel
I like to stir my Dry Martini with a lemon peel and perfume the outside of the glass by gently swiping another peel against it, throw it away and serve the ice cold cocktail with two olives and a bar spoon (or a dash) of olive brine