Martinis are the epitome of the classic cocktail. Popularized by James Bond and the business culture of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, there is no surprise that the classic martini has spawned literally thousands of variations. However when it comes to variation, some are more traditional than others. One such classic martini variation is the perfect martini. Perfect is a cocktail term which doesn’t refer to how amazing the drink is – though perfect cocktails usually are amazingly balanced – but rather indicates equal parts of both sweet and dry vermouth.
The Perfect Martini
- 2 ounces Gin or Vodka
- 1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
- garnish with green olives or a lemon twist
Fill a cocktail glass, also known as a martini glass, with ice and set aside to chill. Grab a mixing glass and fill with ice. This cocktail, no matter what compulsions you may have or how much of Bond fan you think you are, should never be shaken. For more on shaking, checkout this quick refresher on when to shake and when to stir. Pour either gin or vodka, depending on your preference, into the glass as well as both vermouths. Gently stir until chilled – about 30 seconds. Now it is time to dump the ice from the now chilled cocktail glass and carefully strain in the perfect martini. Garnish with either green olives or a lemon twist depending on preference. I generally use the lemon twist with a perfect gin martini as I find the citrus compliments the gin quite nicely. Likewise, I garnish with olives for a perfect vodka martini to add a bit more depth of flavor that I find most vodkas lack. In the end, what makes this drink perfect is the two vermouths, not the garnish.
What Vodka Should I Use in this Perfect Martini?
As it would happen, the flavor profiles of vodka don’t differ that noticeably to the average drinker. You are instead most likely to notice the smoothness of a particular brand. For a smooth, budget conscious yet premium vodka I would try the new Råvo Vodka from Sweden. Selling at $17-$25 per fifth, it offers exceptional smoothness at a very reasonable cost for the quality. With a more conservative budget, New Amsterdam Vodka is very smooth for the price point and Luksusowa Vodka is also quite tasty and affordable. And if you need something still cheaper to make this perfect martini, a brand such as Ruskova will serve you well.
But I Want a Perfect Gin Martini! Which Should I Use?
There are a number of excellent gins that can be had at good prices. One of my favorites is Beefeater – the only London Dry Gin still made in London – which can be found for about $20 per handle if you watch for the perfect sale. Another always reasonably priced gin I personally enjoy is New Amsterdam Gin. Both of these gins are incredibly smooth for the price point while having a great flavor. They are also both a bit lighter on juniper than gins like Tangueray (also a lot less expensive), which in my opinion makes them better for blending into cocktails like this perfect martini. Love a cheap gin that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear about it below in the comments!
What Vermouth Should I Use in this Perfect Martini?
The trick with vermouth is that it is less about which vermouth you use and more about how long it has been open. The shelf life of vermouth is incredibly long until it is opened and exposed to oxygen. Then it only lasts a couple of weeks to a month (at most). This means that getting smalls bottles is a great ide. Unless, of course, you are the kind of person who just loves drinking vermouth straight or on the rocks. Brands that come in 375ml bottles are thus preferred and if you want a good product at a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with Dolin for both your sweet and dry vermouth needs. Want to spring for a more expensive option? Than look no further than Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. It might be three times the price, but you’ll be shocked at just how amazing vermouth can be.
Total cost per drink? ~$0.86