The perfect Martini

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The martini is both one of the easiest and hardest cocktails to make. Gin or Vodka, lemon peel or olive, shaken or stirred; it is all rather easy. In fact, these questions turn out to be even easier than at first glance, as you should never shake a martini and should in time come to prefer on most occasions a gin to a vodka martini.

There are many reasons I have heard as to why a martini should not be shaken, including unwanted dilution, air bubbles cutting through the cleanness of the spirit and cloudiness distorting the aesthetics. Whatever the actual reason, despite the insistence of Mr Bond, a martini must always be stirred.

For a neophyte, the clean and uncomplicated taste of vodka is usually the preferred option; however, in my experience, in time and with enough persuasion most will be convinced of the superiority of the gin martini: the complexity of gin wins out in the end. The choice between the lemon peel and olive is mostly open to personal taste.

Another thing that Flemming’s creation got wrong was having his Martini dry. Although it is not entirely unpleasant to have an ice-cold glass of vodka or gin with a hint of dry vermouth, much better is to encourage the interplay of gin and vermouth, as such I favour a ratio of 3:1 gin to vermouth. Also, worth trying is the addition of a couple of dashes of orange bitters: the near-ubiquitous missing ingredient in the creation of the true classic.

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