Monday, January 16, 2017

One Smart Trick ... :Martini

Gin Martini using a Red Vermouth

I love me some booze forward cocktails and one of my favourites is a gin martini. I almost feel like regurgitating all those cool factoids and stories that are easily found with the google-fu. Ideas of bruising, mixing, and dryness are all over the internet tubes. Examples include: Churchill opened the vermouth bottle, bowed to France and drank the gin. Julie Child put a lot of vermouth with a touch of gin. And the Vesper... that's James Bond's martini.

It amounts to the idea that either straight gin or vodka is a cocktail or some variation on the proper ratio of vermouth to the white liquor. I don't think that I can add much to that conversation. I love me some booze and there are many variations that make me happy, satisfied or tipsy. Sometimes even all three at once.

I haven't gotten to the problem with my home mixing yet that was solved by a conversation with Ryan, a bartender at The Clocktower and occasional barista at Boxcar Social, but I will.

Firstly, my own idiosyncratic ideal of a decent martini, are really two different approaches. Either a generous amount of vermouth with a little bit of gin or a more modern 6:1 ratio or less. At home, I accomplish this with ice. Ice everywhere; glass, shaker, and bottle. I end up shaking it slow because I want to get it cold but not dilute it too much. If I stir it, invariably, it comes off as three separate boozes with a sometimes harsh edge or some watery, vaguely piney and juniper thing. The only way I have made it work is to shake to integrate it. Sometimes there is a slight harshness but it is imminently drinkable. People like my martinis.

So I lamented this flaw of getting the edge on my home martini and Ryan suggested a simple trick. The first issue was identifying the problem. The problem was that the dilution was either too much or too little when I tried to stir it and shaking kind of muddies the flavours of some gins. Supposedly, the perfect amount of stirs is forty or about 30 seconds. The point is to get the right temperature and the required amount of water into the drink.

Ryan suggested mixing the vermouth and bitters in for about five or ten stirs first, pour it off into the glass and then put the spirit in and stir it for the remainder of time/stirs. So far, this approach has worked incredibly well. I have tried it with both variations of martini listed above and proceeded to try it with another cocktail or two that was vermouth based. Speaking of vermouth, it is important and I am thinking about messing around with making my own but that is another topic. I'll leave you with that thought and two cocktail ideas.

Using the technique above, I tried two off the cuff ideas.

2 oz Crown Royal Harvest Rye
1 oz Lionello Vermouth
2 dashes Dillon's Ginger Bitters
Grated lime peel

Tasted Christmas-y.

The second was more vermouth heavy. I had a little bit of sour cherry juice from another experiment so I wanted to do something with that. Yeah, I know you should shake anything with citrus juice but this was just a little bit to make the cherry taste come to life. I could have added the smallest amount of citric acid to accomplish the same thing.

1 Tbsp sour cherry juice
2 oz Vermouth
1 oz Wiser's Dry Hopped
Squirt of lemon juice
2 dashes Dillons DSB

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