I’ve put off making a martini because people tend to be really, really opinionated about them, and I’m going to be the slightest bit unfashionable. I don’t like my martini dry. It’s just cold gin. I like gin, but drinking about 3oz of it practically neat is something I can’t do without grimacing. Even a 3:1 ratio, not considered particularly dry by today’s standards, where 7:1 is common and the ‘wave in the direction of Italy’ approach is ideal, is a bit too much gin. (Cf. The Zozzled Cocktail on this point)
Originally, a ‘dry’ martini referred to a martini made with dry vermouth, as opposed to sweet, and it used to be that ratios of gin to vermouth would be almost 1:1. Use sweet vermouth and you get something which more closely resembles the Martinez, the cocktail which supposedly gave rise to the martini. I’ve read so many wildly varying opinions about what a ‘classic’ martini should look like, The Gin Foundry settles on 4:1 gin to vermouth as ‘classic’ – anything with more vermouth is wet and with more vermouth is dry.
I’ve gone for the Serious Eats approach: 2:1 gin to dry vermouth, using Sipsmith’s London Dry and Noilly Prat. And I’ve gone for the orange bitters as well – historically accurate but not very on-trend at the moment. I like them in there – they detract slightly from the crispness but I can never say no to a hint of citrus.
I do love olives but generally I prefer them on the side of drinks rather than in them. I wish I could order a dirty Martini (it sounds so cool) but I honestly do not understand why you would put olive juice in such a pure-tasting drink, so I’ll stick with my lemon twist.
2 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Enjoy sense of elegance and sophistication while drinking (unless, like me, you’re liable to spill things, which ruins the effect).