“Shake me up, Judy!” Martinis Part Two
The martini is the quintessential cocktail. It has captured the world’s attention like no other. As such, it should be shown the respect it so rightly deserves.
Back in the day when someone ordered a “dry” martini, it simply meant that they want dry, French vermouth instead of sweet, Italian vermouth. It had nothing to do with how much vermouth was to be used. After dry vermouth became the standard for all martinis, the word dry came to refer to the amount of vermouth the customer wanted; the drier the martini, the less vermouth. It became the vogue to use less and less vermouth and, with the growing popularity of vodka in the U.S. after WWII, to replace the gin with vodka. This is a shame, because vermouth makes a martini a martini and not just a cold glass of booze. If we used more vermouth, then it would not gather dust on the shelf and go stale.
If a martini is to be truly enjoyed, it should never be shaken but, instead, stirred with ice until very cold. No, this has nothing to do with “bruising” the gin and everything to do with the aesthetics and the mouth feel of the drink. If you like your martinis clouded with a million bubbles and tiny shards of ice floating on top, then by all means shake the hell out of your martinis. In the end, as with all things epicurean, it comes down to personal taste. However, sometimes we are just wrong.
A stirred martini will go down nice and smooth with a silky texture that is destroyed when you shake. The cocktail will also not look as nice and presentation is half the cocktail. So, forget the cliché, please, and stir your martinis.