Gin or Vodka? Shaken or Stirred? Make The Perfect Martini

The Classic Martini

A Martini is one of the most iconic and classic cocktails around. It’s also one that not a lot of people agree on when it comes to making it the best way. Gin or vodka? Stirred or shaken? Ice shards or double strained? Lemon twist or olives? Blue cheese stuffed? Dirty?

Point being, how you like your Martini is probably different than how your aunt likes hers. Despite this, you and your aunt can both agree that crafting a great Martini at home can make you feel as classy and sophisticated as they come!

Because there are so many options, it’s always good to start with the tried-and-true classic recipe for a Martini before you get to customizing your own. As we dive into the recipe, let’s take a look at how such an elegant two-ingredient cocktail can have so many people divided.

Gin or Vodka?

A classic Martini calls for gin. Some people love it, while others feel like drinking gin is like biting into a pine cone. Gin is full of botanical flavors, most of which are juniper-forward. It’s like the friend who’s always wearing a bright, funky-colored shirt and despite how you feel about it, it just works. Gin works because it pairs really well with the herbal qualities of dry vermouth, the next key ingredient in a classic Martini. If you’re going the gin route, I recommend using something high-quality. Some common ones are Beefeater, Plymouth Gin, Tanqueray, or Hendrick’s.

In the other camp, we have vodka. It’s a neutral spirit that tends to take a little bit of a beating amongst cocktail enthusiasts for being flavorless. Yet, it’s smooth and a lot of people prefer it over gin. If you like vodka, I recommend purchasing a premium bottle like a Belvedere or Ketel One. Don’t skimp on ingredients here because every drop matters. I’d say $25 to $35 is a great price range for a quality bottle.

Who Is This Dry Vermouth Character?

The second ingredient in a Martini is dry vermouth. It’s a type of fortified wine, blended and infused with different herbs and botanicals. Use a quality, well-preserved bottle of vermouth. By well-preserved I mean refrigerated after it’s opened. It’s still a wine and begins to oxidize after opening, so be sure you keep it cold. There’s nothing worse than a left-out bottle of vermouth that has turned to vinegar. Not tasty. A recommended bottle of dry vermouth is Noilly Prat or Dolin.

Stirred or Shaken? (I’m Looking at You, Bond.)

By rule of thumb, if your cocktail contains only booze, then you stir. By this rule, a Martini should be stirred. James Bond would probably disagree. On any other day I wouldn’t fight him, but on this matter I advise you to stir your Martini, especially when going with gin. Shaking can “bruise” the gin and mask the botanicals you want to taste.

Want an Ice-Cold Martini?

The reason people shake their Martini is because they don’t feel stirring the cocktail yields a cold-enough martini. If you want your cocktail arctic cold with ice shards floating on top, shake it.

Lemon twist or olives?

A martini should always be served up in a chilled glass, but the garnish you use is up to preference. Squeeze the back of a lemon peel over the glass to release the lemon oils into the martini, then rub the peel around the rim of the glass. This enhances the aroma and brings a fresh zest to it. Either drop the lemon peel in, or discard and garnish with several fresh olives.

Most importantly, drink your martini pinky up because now you’re fancy!

Now Let’s Make The Perfect Martini


• 2 1/2 ounces of gin or vodka
• 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth
• Lemon peel twist or olives, for garnish
• Ice


Mixing glass or cocktail shaker
Hawthorne strainer
Fine-mesh strainer (if shaking the martini)
Bar spoon
Jigger or small liquid measuring glass
Martini or coupe glass
Pairing knife or Y-Peeler



• Before you build your Martini, put your Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
• Build the drink: Place the gin or vodka and dry vermouth in a mixing glass.
• Stir and strain: Add cubed ice and stir for 30 seconds until the Martini is chilled. Strain the drink into your chilled Martini glass.
• Garnish the drink: Pare a lemon peel, and express (pinch) the back of the lemon peel over the martini. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the glass. Alternatively, garnish with speared olives.


• Chill the glass: Before you build your Martini, put your Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
• Build the drink: Place the gin or vodka and dry vermouth in a cocktail shaker.
• Shake the drink: Add cubed ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
• Strain the drink: If you prefer ice shards floating at the top of your Martini, then simply strain the drink into your chilled Martini glass. If you don’t want the ice shards, then strain the drink through a fine-mesh strainer to catch the ice shards.
• Garnish the drink: Pare a lemon peel, and express (pinch) the back of the lemon peel over the Martini. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the glass. Alternatively, garnish with speared olives.

Published on February 10, 2017
Source: The Kitchn
by Elliott Clark

Shaken or Stirred: How James Bond Destroyed Drinks

Shaken or Stirred? The Do’s & Don’ts

“A martini, shaken, not stirred,” instructs Sean Connery’s 007 in Goldfinger.

An iconic line uttered by an even more iconic character. This oft-repeated quote has confused cocktail enthusiasts ever since. Do you understand when to shake, and when to stir a cocktail? Let’s shake it out.

Whether you shake or you stir boils down to tradition and logic, “often at the expense of one another,” says Elliot Ball, co-founder of The Cocktail Trading Company’s The Development Bar & Table in London.

Aaron Gersonde, co-owner of Milwaukee’s Movida Bar & Restaurant is more blunt. “James Bond destroyed drinks,” Aaron told me as I sat down to a cocktail tutorial with him and bartender Nick Cuellar. “It is a misconception that you should just shake everything.”

“We get this all the time,” Nick adds. “Why are there no ice shards in my martini?”

Martinis, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds — basically any booze-forward drink should be stirred. Stirring these drinks produces “a silky mouth-feel with precise dilution and perfect clarity,” Elliot says. Shaking adds texture and aeration, changes the mouth-feel and binds ingredients that would readily separate with simple stirring, says Trevor Schneider, Reyka Vodka‘s U.S. brand ambassador.

But James Bond and even Tom Cruise’s kitschy bartender in Cocktail have influenced people to shake drinks that should be stirred.

How to Stir a Drink

When you properly stir a drink – twisting the bar spoon from the top so that that back of the spoon goes around the glass evenly – the components come together, the temperature of the cocktail chills, but the drink’s components aren’t diluted with melting ice, and the drink doesn’t get cloudy. The result is a clear, spirit-strong cocktail.

Stir Up a Classic

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While shaking drinks that should be stirred confounds purists, stirring cocktails that require shaking actually ruins them. If you don’t shake ingredients that need to bind together, one sip might be boozy, the next citrus-puckering and the third a mouthful of bitters. “All the flavors are there, but the drink tastes incomplete,” Nick says. “The ingredients separate, depending on how you tilt the glass.”

You need to shake drinks that contain cream, egg whites and juices, especially citrus. Drinks with herbs can also be shaken, and double straining with a tea strainer after shaking is also recommended.

How to shake a drink: There are three kinds of shakes. A super short shake will chill a shot or make a French 75 (and the Champagne is never shaken in this drink, unless you want a foamy mess). That’s a one-two shake and pour, Nick explains. Most juice-centric drinks require short shakes or the count of five Mississippis

Egg white shakes belong to a class all their own. “First I shake it until my arm gets tired, then I strain it into another shaker, and I shake until my other arm gets tired,” Nick says.

The exact length of shaking varies from bartender to bartender, Trevor says, adding that it’s important to keep the egg whites separated from other ingredients until just before shaking. “I also generally dry shake it first,” he says, and a dry shake is when you shake all the ingredients together except for the ice.

Shake Up a Good One

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Still, customers are growing more educated. “We’re seeing a lot more stirring because it’s the new cool,” Elliot says. “Shaking is associated with Tom Cruise, stirring is a little classier.”

Published on April 9, 2015
Source: The Kitchn
by Jeanette Hurt

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