Gone are the days of the little wife having a cocktail waiting for her hubby after a tough day at the office or the cocktails all day at the office, Mad Men style. Remember the three martini lunch?
Just because we've seen the passing of that excess doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good cocktail at home. During the week a glass of wine or beer is our usual, but some days a cocktail is what we desire. When friends are over a special cocktail is always on the menu.
One of the easiest is the classic Martini or one of its many variations. Here good quality booze and extreme chilling is the key. Purest will start with a very good quality Gin, but Vodka is my poison of choice. We use Ketel One or Tito’s Handmade which we keep in the freezer. I like dry vermouth in my Martinis and here too quality is essential. Dolin’s Vermouth is the best you can buy. Once you taste it against one of the more commercial Vermouths you will understand why so many people like “Dry” Martini’s they taste like turpentine. Insist on Dolin’s it is soooo good. We cool that too.
As I said chilling is key so an hour ahead of time I rinse my martini glasses and put them in the freezer. If you don’t have that time fill them with crushed ice and water and let them sit for 10 minutes while you prepare your drinks. Get them nice and cold.
The garnish, green pimento stuffed olives, cocktail onions, or twists of lemon are required in my house. Our favorites are Sable and Rosenfeld. Get them ready in advance because once you start shaking it all happens very fast. I skewer on a cute party pick to add to the festivity.
Now for the moment of truth, of course you must have a great cocktail shaker. I subscribe to the James Bond mandate, “Shaken not Stirred.” I’ve seen some bartenders make a very great stirred Martini, but it takes some effort. In any case I love shaken and for that you need very good crushed ice. Clean pure water is essential.
Take your glasses out of the freezer or empty the chilling ice, set in your garnish. It’s showtime.
Fill your shaker halfway with clean pure crushed ice, pour in 1.5 oz of your hard stuff and .25 oz of vermouth, or less, for each drink. Honestly I just eyeball it but the proportions are important. Then shake, shake, shake until the vessel is so cold you can barely hold it. Great for the biceps, I tell ya.
Pour and enjoy, the drink should be foamy and swirling with bits of ice, cold as cold can be.
In future posts we will share our next favorite cocktail method called muddling, it’s the magic behind great Mojitos, perfect Old Fashioneds, and other famous cocktails. Until then, check out these: Mano a Vino Cocktails
Martini Splash © volff - Fotolia.com
Cocktail Shaker © 3532studio - Fotolia.com
Martini Bar © Ramon Grosso - Fotolia.com
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