Not exactly sure when my taste for a vodka Martini – with Domaine De Canton Ginger liqueur instead of vermouth – switched to a gin Martini…but it did. Only problem was that every bar always made them better than the ones I made at home. My first gin martinis were made with Hendrick’s gin and a bit of vermouth and bitters. Wasn’t working.
So what did I do? I turned to Facebook and asked my boozy online friends for their go to recipes.
Robin: Stop with the vermouth.
Scott: Take the cap off of the vermouth. Pour 1/2 capful of dry vermouth into the bottle cap. Hold the bottle cap about three inches away from your martini glass filled with Gin. Whisper the word, “vermouth” softly across the cap-full… letting your breath carry the fumes into the glass. That is more than enough vermouth.
Chris: The Hendrick’s martinis may taste odd with a twist because the rose/cucumber of the Hendricks fights with the lemon oil. Garnish botanical gins (like Hendrick’s Gin or Uncle Val’s Handcrafted Gin) with a cucumber or sprig of something green. Citrus-forward gins (like Tanqueray) and dry gins (like Nolet’s or Beefeater) pair very well with a twist.
And Dolin is an exceptional vermouth. Colin Blanc is my favorite dry vermouth substitute, but their dry is wonderful as well.
When it comes to shaking: usually the rule is “if juice or egg is present, shake. If not, stir.” However many people prefer their martinis to be much more diluted than the traditional way and shake it (which ads more water).
Carlos: Less vermouth and everything must be ice cold: glass, vermouth and gin. Teaspoon of vermouth, swirl around cold glass and throw out excess.
Laura: I’m thinking that you need to throw a $20 bill down and then it will taste better.
Steve: 2 parts Nolet’s, 2 parts Hendrick’s, 1 spray from Vermouth sprayer. Shake over ice, strain into Martini glass, add straw and use straw!
Jeannie: We just go Sapphire, olive & onion. No vermouth. Perfecto.
Margaret: I love Hendrick’s, no vermouth with either a rose petal or a cucumber slice.
Matt: Call a friend on another continent and ask them to whisper “vermouth” out the window and you’ll be all set as far as the vermouth is concerned.
Paul: In a drink class I attended on a Disney cruise ship given by the head of their bartending department he said, “shaken, not stirred” is okay with a vodka martini, but not with drinks with herbal bases like gin, ouzo, absinthe, etc. Shaking degrades the flavor. He said a drink made with primarily gin should be stirred gently (not even vigorously).
Robin: Wave the opened bottle of vermouth over the martini, garnish with a twist of lemon!
Semaj: Why are you shaking it? Stir. There’s no fruit juice. Hendrick’s is fine. Dolin dry vermouth. 6:1 ratio. And olives!
William: Bare minimum of dry vermouth and shake the heck out of it. If you prefer several martinis use Gilby’s or Gordon’s (as they are) low octane. One large green olive is just fine.
Doug: Too much vermouth, drop about 3/4 oz. into an empty shaker, swirl it around to coat the inside then pour out whatever doesn’t stick. Then add the ice and gin.
Jonathan: Hey Eve! Several techniques to add the vermouth. The glass rinse, we (Olive Terrace Bar and Grill) use a spray bottle for consistency at work, or another one I like is coating the rocks: pour an ounce into the shaker over the rocks, swirl around and then strain out excess. However the problem you might be having is with the vermouth itself. Vermouth is a fortified wine and should be kept in the fridge, and if it’s been open for a long time it might be time for a new bottle. Other than that I would definitely stir over shaking the gin. Hope that helps!
From a booze book writer that private messaged me: Our go-to recipe is: 2 1/2 oz. Beefeater gin, 1/2 oz. Dolin blanc, 2 dashes Angostura orange bitters (it has a bit of sweetness without losing the bitter notes). Place the gin, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir vigorously until you can smell the gin aroma – about 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe. Express a lemon peel over the drink – then toss peel; do not put in drink. (If Beefeater is too strong for you, go with Plymouth) Cheers!
And this last recipe, dear reader, has been my go-to gin martini recipe ever since! Although when I go out I’ll often order Nolet’s or Hendrick’s Martini and, as you guessed it, those bartenders know what they are doing as it always tastes perfect!
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.