My Recipe Box

Old-School Martini


Serves 1

  • To learn more, read:
    The Comeback Kid
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

This classic cocktail combines half vermouth and half gin in the old-school fashion.

  • 1-1/2 fl. oz. (3 Tbs.) dry gin, preferably Beefeater London Dry
  • 1-1/2 fl. oz. (3 Tbs.) dry vermouth
  • 1 to 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 lemon twist

Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the gin, vermouth, and bitters. Stir approximately 50 times if using large ice cubes, 30 times if using smaller cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Photo: Scott Phillips

It's nice to see that you're not afraid of going old school, but even classic cocktail aficionados today generally prefer a gin:vermouth ratio of 2:1 or 4:1. (I prefer 4:1 myself.) As in all recipes, it's best to experiment and discover what you like. In this case, that means trying different proportions, as well as trying different gins and vermouths: Noilly Prat, Dolin, and Martini & Rossi (Dry) are all good vermouths, but they yield noticeably different results. The same is true if you go with a juniper-forward gin like Tanqueray or Beefeater compared with herbier gins like Plymouth and Hendrick's.

I realize that this is the "Old Version" of the Martini but the equal parts of both Gin and Vermouth is so terrible tasting. I have gone into so many places and asked for a very dry Martini and when I received my drink I got a glass of Vermouth and a little Gin. How hard is it to get something like a Martini correct.

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