Cheers! A Perfect Martini

A couple of months ago at the after party to a cousin’s wedding, my godmother and I found ourselves at the private bar of an Irish pub trying to decide what to order.

“Well, it’s a special occasion and it’s open bar, so I’m going to have a martini,” my godmother decided excitedly.
“Oh, great idea!” I agreed enthusiastically, “what kind of martini do you drink? Gin or vodka?”
“Gin. A true martini is made with gin.”
“Yes, yes, I know, but I didn’t know you drank gin martinis! I love them.”
“I didn’t know you drank gin martinis!” She replied back. Then, she looked quickly over both shoulders and leaned in closer to me. In a whispered voice she said, “You better watch out. You know what your grandmother told me, years ago? That gin martinis are a true sign of an alcoholic. If you drink gin martinis and like them, she thinks this makes you an alcoholic.”
“I guess I’ve been an alcoholic for awhile! I’ve been drinking martinis for years, in fact, I can’t even remember when I had my first martini.”

And it’s true — not the alcoholic part, I don’t think drinking a martini every now and then makes anyone an alcoholic. Now, if you drink three martinis in a row on a regular basis that might be different — but the part that’s true is I don’t remember when I had my first martini. I do know that the Cosmopolitan was my gateway martini and from there I shifted to vodka (Grey Goose) martinis and then, finally gin (Plymouth) martinis. I prefer dry martinis with only a little vermouth.

Although there’s lots of different ways to make a martini, this is my technique, which I’ve perfected over the years. I like shaken versus stirred because I love the teeny shards of ice. I enjoy a martini that’s very cold. There’s something comforting about the bracing chill of the spirit.  Uh-oh, that description kind of sounded like an alcoholic said it. . . In terms of garnish, I like 3 small Spanish olives. Use your favorite kind of vodka or gin. If there’s no Plymouth (my preferred brand of gin), then I use Bombay Sapphire.


Heavy splash of vermouth (I use Noilly Prat original French dry)
2.5 ounces gin or vodka
3 Spanish olives, speared on a toothpick

  1. Fill a martini glass with ice. Add a heavy splash of vermouth. Set aside.
  2. Put the gin or vodka in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 45 seconds.
  3. Over a sink, slowly swirl the vermouth in the martini glass, being careful to coat each part of the glass with vermouth. Discard the remaining vermouth and ice.
  4. Give the cocktail shaker 1 last shake and strain into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with the olives and enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 drink.

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