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The Perfect Martini

I’ve done a lot of research, with wide-ranging results both sensory and emotional, but I believe that at long last I have truly perfected the (modern, since the original probably used sweet vermouth, bitters, and lemon peel) martini. If you were going to order this in a bar, you would say something like, “Bombay Sapphire martini, nine to one, up, shaken, over olives in a chilled glass.” He still probably wouldn’t get it right. Better to make your own1.


  • 1/3 jigger (0.5 fl oz) Martini & Rossi dry vermouth
  • 3 jiggers (4.5 fl oz) Bombay Sapphire gin2
  • 2 large olives3
  • 4 large ice cubes4


  1. Place cocktail glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Soak olives in cold water for 10-15 minutes to remove brine.
  3. Add gin, vermouth, and ice to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.5
  4. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and add olives.
  5. Wait 60 seconds for the drink to come to thermal equilibrium (watch the condensation on the glass), then enjoy.

1. Not to mention that this recipe is formulated to essentially fill a 7 fl oz cocktail glass. Please please please don’t drink one and drive.
2. When on a budget, Seagram’s Extra Dry is a surprisingly good substitute. Hendrick’s is phenomenal but doesn’t play well with olives.
3. I’m a fan of the traditional pimento stuffing, but feta cheese, garlic, onion, almond, all good. The olives are basically an après-aperitif snack.
4. The larger the better. You want to transfer heat, not water down the drink excessively. If there are ice crystals on top of the drink, you’re doing it wrong. You can also chill the vermouth and gin ahead of time, but I find the -10°C of a typical freezer far too cold. Shoot for more like 4°C. Using a kitchen thermometer probe instead of a toothpick makes this child’s play, and satisfies a desire to geek the fuck out while drinking.
5. Yeah, yeah, you’re going to “bruise the gin”, whatever that means. In blind taste tests people generally prefer shaken martinis. Introducing oxygen enhances the flavors of the aromatics, and if you don’t want to taste them, well, you should be drinking vodka anyway.

1 comment to The Perfect Martini

  • Mazur

    This begs the question: If the olive is stuffed with a cocktail onion is it still a martini? isn’t it just as much a gibson as a martini? CONUNDRUM!

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