Firstly, I should say that I prefer a gin martini to vodka, so that is how I will list the recipe, but you can certainly substitute vodka if you prefer.
I think that preparation is critical to having a really good martini. A little prep will make all of the difference to the finished product.
Finally, buy the best gin or vodka you can afford, as the end result is going to be dominated by the spirit, so if you choose a cheap gin or vodka, you will definitely taste it.
Gin is a very personal thing and while some will like one over another, the key is to have a gin that is smooth and in balance. No one flavor should dominate in an unpleasant way.
Here are a few of my favorites:
No 3, London Dry Gin by Berry Bros and Rudd – Truly one of my favorites and a staple at Duke’s Hotel Bar in London, for making the world famous Vesper.
No Ten by Tanqueray – A close second and a real surprise, as I was not excepting it to be so good.
Plymouth English Gin– This makes a lovely martini and is how I think a good gin should taste. Crisp and balanced, as it should be.
Cadenhead’s Old Raj – Very nice old style gin made in Scotland. Quite strong, so use caution.
Here we go:
1) Firstly, you need to put your martini glasses and gin into the freezer. I like to taste the gin and I find that shaking dilutes the gin too much. However, in a clinch, I do prefer stirring over shaking.
2) Remove your glass from the freezer, and pour about 1 Tbsp of Vermouth (I use Martini and Rossi) into the frozen glass. Swirl it around and then pour the vermouth out. This is to make sure you have just the right amount of vermouth.
3) Add enough gin to fill ¾ of the glass and then garnish with a twist of lemon peel. Use a peeler to get a nice size piece, and squeeze it in half over the glass before submerging it into the glass. This allows the oils to cover the surface of the gin.
4) Drink and enjoy.
Okay, so let’s say you want a martini tonight and forgot to put the gin and glasses into the freezer. First things first, put the glasses into the freezer as they will freeze up quickly. Set the timer for 30 minutes and go occupy yourself while awaiting your reward.
Now, take your cocktail shaker and fill to the very top with ice. Add your 1 Tbsp of vermouth, and swirl it around. Now strain off the vermouth. Add in your gin and stir for at least 30 seconds until very cold, then strain into your frozen glass and garnish as desired. I prefer lemon peel as it accents the gin nicely, but olives are good as well.