The martini - one cocktail, one million expressions.
No drink has caused so many conversations or conjecture or had so many manifestations. The simple recipe of vermouth (a fortified wine flavoured with aromatic herbs and spices) and white spirit chilled and served straight-up has become the focus of much debate.
Myths abound about the heritage of the cocktail and duels have been fought over the recipe for the perfect martini.
Should the base be vodka or gin?
What should the ratio of vermouth to spirit be?
Garnished with a twist or olive?
Served wet or dry?
This time-honoured classic demands a plethora of questions should be asked before the it can be created and allows each bartender to not only showcase their bar skills, but also showcase their knowledge.
A perfect opportunity for an up-sell, as more premium back-bar offerings can be suggested to guests expressing the subtle points of difference between brands to create a beautifully crafted bespoke experience.
As a rule, the vermouth is poured over ice in a stirring glass and agitated to coat the ice, then discarded (the more vermouth discarded the ‘drier' the martini).
The spirit is then added and stirred slowly to taste; this is to not only chill the cocktail, but also to dilute the neat spirit and open up its aromas.
The recommendation I share with you is the wining martini created by Riccardo Semeria of the Bar at the Connaught for the recent Galvin Cup.
75 ml Belvedere Vodka
15 ml Gancia Dry
Stirred slowly over ice, double-strained into the frozen martini glass and garnished with a lemon twist.
It's the perfect start to anyone's evening. However, due to its potency, please remember the fabulous words of warning from the inimitable Dorothy Parker.
"I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three, I'm under the table,
After four, I'm under my host."
Julian Shaw,Gorgeous Group020 7091 7492