Massachusetts Beverage Business


Article By: Pink Lady

Consider the Martini.  Iconic, misunderstood, misconstrued.  Of the all drinks in the cocktail cannon, the beverage you are often served as a martini could not be further from its classic incarnation.  Here’s why:

1 A Martini is a drink, not a glass.  Referring to the stemmed, conical-shaped vessel that traditionally holds “up” drinks as a Martini Glass is akin to calling a pint glass a Beer Glass, or any vessel you use to drink Coca-Cola a Coke Glass.

2 A Martini is a drink, not a category.  The cocktail boom that began in the late-’9Os/early 2OOOs led to a proliferation of “Martini Lists” at bars from coast to coast.  But just because it comes in the aforementioned glass, that doesn’t make it a martini.

3 A Martini is a drink classically made with gin and vermouth, stirred to chill and garnished with an olive or a twist.  Vodka, shaken-like-hell and dumped into a cocktail glass is a modern concoction.  Adding 1/8 cup of olive brine and calling it “dirty” is, in our opinion, sad.

As Bernard DeVoto once wrote, “The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived.”  We challenge you to give it a go.

Start by cozying up to a brand new bottle of dry vermouth.  Noilly Prat or Martini & Rossi are a fine place to start, or go off book and try any of the high end vermouths now being imported to the US, such as Dolin Dry. 

Plan to treat your new baby well, as part of vermouth’s bad reputation lies in the way most modern drinkers store it, in the dusty back corner of the liquor cabinet where it will wither and go bad.  Vermouth is really just fortified wine, aromatized with herbs and spices.  Improperly stored vermouth, like wine, tastes gross.  For optimal freshness and preservation, stick that brand new bottle in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks.

You may love your Vodka Martinis but, just this once, give the original a go.  Another contributing factor to vermouth’s bad reputation is that it mixes clumsily with vodka.  So reach for a delightful dry gin, such as Beefeater or Tanqueray, or something more modern like Hendrick’s.

Now mix the two in “vintage” ratios.  The beverage has a slightly savory quality, which may be just what you were looking for when you poured half the brine from the olive jar into your big glass of vodka.

one part French (dry) Vermouth
two parts gin (also dry)
and two dashes of bitters
Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass.
Garnish with an olive
if you’re recovering from
dirty vodkatini madness; a lemon twist if not.


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