You are sitting at the bar when you see a man walk in the door. He casually saunters up to the bar, slides onto a stool, and orders a dry martini straight up. He sounds so cool and confident as you stare down at your drink and wonder, what the heck is a dry martini straight up?
A dry martini is a martini that is made with little or no vermouth, while a straight-up martini is one that is chilled and served without ice. A dry straight-up martini is a combination of the two.
Continue reading to learn more about what martini is, how they are often made, and how to order one to suit your desired tastes.
What Is a Martini?
Although this classic cocktail has evolved to include a wide variety of recipes, a classic martini is said to have only two ingredients—gin and vermouth. It is commonly served in a martini glass and garnished with lemons or olives.
Gin is a clear liquor that often tastes like juniper or pine, while vermouth is a type of fortified wine that may taste like a variety of herbs and spices. While there are those who believe this is the only “true” way to drink a martini, the vodka martini has become quite popular among people who do not care for gin. Additionally, there are a ton of martini recipes available today that put a modern spin on the classic drink.
Classic Martini Recipe
Because the martini is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, it is no wonder that people have branched out and found some interesting ways to spice the drink up. However, many say there is only one way to make a classic martini.
- Dry Vermouth
- Lemon or Olives
- Cocktail Shaker or Mixing Glass
- Strainer (Hawthorn or Fine Mesh)
- Martini Glass
- Knife or Peeler
- Chill the glass. This can be done by filling it with ice, putting it in ice, or putting it in the freezer.
- Pour the drink to your preference. Most recipes call for 3 parts gin to 1-part vermouth, but you can tailor it to your tastes. Pour the liquid into a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir until the liquid is chilled. This typically takes around 30 seconds.
- Strain the drink into your chilled glass.
- Garnish with olives, onions, or lemon twist.
- Chill the glass.
- Pour the desired amount of gin and vermouth into a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds.
- Strain the drink through a fine-mesh strainer into your chilled glass.
- Garnish with olives, onions, or a lemon twist.
Although gin pairs well with vermouth, not everyone enjoys the way it tastes, which is why the vodka martini has become so popular in recent years. Vodka martinis are made the same way as a classic martini except you replace the gin with vodka.
How To Find Your Martini
There are a lot of ways to drink a martini, and people often become confused when confronted with the questions a bartender is likely to ask. The guide below will help you build your perfect cocktail and sound like a pro the next time you order a martini.
Although various liquors can be used, gin and vodka are the two most popular spirits used in martinis. Since the martini is not mixed like many other cocktails, it is important to choose a spirit that you enjoy the taste of. Both gin and vodka come in a variety of flavors, and you should experiment with different brands to find one you like.
There are a ton of great gins available on the market. However, some of the most popular brands include:
Vodka can also be found in a variety of brands and flavors, but some of the most popular martini vodkas include:
- Stoli Elit
- Absolut Citron
- Woody Creek
- Russian Standard
- Crystal Head
- Grey Goose
2. Dry or Wet
Just as important as the spirit you choose is the ratio of spirit and vermouth. Not everyone enjoys the taste of vermouth, and many opt to remove it from the drink entirely. There are two terms that you should be familiar with when ordering a martini—dry and wet.
Dry means that you want more gin or vodka than vermouth. A typical dry martini will have five or six parts gin/vodka and one part vermouth.
Extra dry means that you only want a tiny splash of vermouth added to the drink. Some bartenders will wash the glass in vermouth instead of pouring it into the drink and some drinkers prefer this.
A bone-dry martini does not have any vermouth.
A wet martini is one that has a bit more vermouth than normal. This is not as popular as it once was, but some people still enjoy it. A typical wet martini will have three parts gin/vodka and one part vermouth.
A reverse martini flips the ratio and instead of five parts gin/vodka to one part vermouth, it will have five parts vermouth to one part gin/vodka. However, this is uncommon and most people who want more vermouth will simply order it wet.
3. Shaken or Stirred
Next, you will have to decide if you want your drink shaken or stirred. Typically, drinks that are alcohol forward, like a martini, are stirred, while cocktails that contain non-alcoholic mixers are shaken. This is because the air bubbles that form when a drink is shaken can affect the taste of the spirits. However, this is just a general rule, and you will have to decide which one you prefer.
Shaken drinks are made by adding the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shaking before the drink is strained into a glass. Depending on the type of strainer used, shaken drinks may have ice chips in them and they often appear cloudy.
Stirred drinks are made by pouring the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stirring the drink until it has chilled. The drink is then strained into a glass. Stirred drinks do not have ice chips, do not become as diluted, and remain clear.
The type of garnish you use can affect the overall flavor of your drink, and people often play around with different garnishes to find which one they enjoy the most. Some of the most popular martini garnishes are:
- Olives, add a salty flavor to the martini.
- Lemons, which will give your cocktail a refreshing citrus finish.
- Cocktail onions, add a spicy sweetness to your drink.
Other Terms You Should Know Before Ordering a Martini
The only way to find out what you like is to play around with various recipes, and there are a few common terms you will want to know.
- Dirty: A dirty martini is made with olive juice and garnished with olives.
- Vesper: James Bond fans will already know that Vesper was the name of James Bonds’s order, which was three parts gin, one part vodka, a half a part of Lillet Blanc, and garnished with a lemon peel.
- Perfect: A perfect martini is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
- On the rocks: This is a martini that is served in a glass with ice cubes.
- With a twist: A martini that is served with a twist of lemon.
- Gibson: A martini that is garnished with cocktail onions.
- Burnt: Although rare, this is a martini that includes a small amount of single malt scotch.
- Thrown: This is when a martini is poured from a tumbler that is held up high above one’s head into a glass.
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