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How to Make a Vodka Martini


 

The martini is one of the most famous cocktails ever in history. Being displayed in films, television, and magazines, it has become one of the staple cocktails anyone should know how to make. The martini glass alone has it’s own history and background, primarily revolving around: why is a martini glass shaped the way it is? There is also some of the martini’s history listed there so it’s definitely worth a look.

But you want to drink like James Bond right? You want a vodka martini, possibly even shaken not stirred (or as Sean Connery would say it, “shtirrrddd”). Yes, it was in fact James Bond who made popular the vodka martini in the 1960′s. From that point forward, it became acceptable to order a martini with vodka instead of gin. This further catapulted vodka as one of the leaders in spirits and alcohols.

Shaken Or Stirred?

One of the first things to realize is that there really is a difference when deciding on drinking a martini shaken vs stirred. In fact, Mythbusters did a little segment on it for their James Bond episode. HOWEVER, before you go getting purist on me and suggesting that it should always be stirred, realize that this is a vodka martini and not gin. A lot of martini purists believe that shaking the cocktail “bruises the gin” and dilutes the flavor. Vodka is by definition flavorless and odorless, so the only thing that comes into play is the dilution of the mixed drink by any excess ice fragments broken off and added to the drink. I would suggest making a martini using both methods and deciding which way you prefer best.

There many different kinds of martini recipes, mostly differing in the ratio of vodka to vermouth. Some call for olives, some don’t. Some call for a twist of lemon, so don’t. In my opinion, a martini needs an accenting garnish like one of these. I prefer the olive for its taste and it’s powerful imagery to the drink and so that’s the garnish we will use.

Ingredients needed to make a Vodka Martini:

  • Vodka
  • Dry Vermouth
  • ice
  • green olive
  • martini glass
  • cocktail shaker or large glass

How to Make a Vodka Martini (Stirred):

  1. Classic Stirred Martini with Two Olives

    Take a cup full of ice and fill your martini glass to brim.
    You want your glass to chill while you are making this cocktail.

  2. Take your cocktail shaker or large glass and fill it halfway with ice.
    Easy enough?
  3. Pour 3-4 ounces of vodka into your glass.
    A martini is basically a double shot of vodka, so around 3-4 ounces should be good.
  4. Pour about 1 teaspoon of Vermouth into your glass.
    This is the part that is going to take some practice. Vermouth is just a mild and subtle flavor in this drink and there doesn’t need to be much of it. Start out 1 teaspoon for now, and experiment with adding more. It will be up to your discretion.
  5. Take a long metal spoon and gently mix the cocktail in the glass or shaker. 
    Give the cocktail a good 5 second stir.
  6. Dump out the ice in your martini glass and sift your cocktail into the glass. 
    You can use a bar sifter or use the two-cup technique. Just make sure you don’t get any ice into your cocktail. It should be clear.
  7. Drop in a speared green olive for taste and look.
    Adding one is mainly for aesthetic reasons, but some like 2 or 3 olives to enjoy the salty flavor of the olive with their martini.

How to Make a Vodka Martini (Shaken):

  1. A Martini Shaken Will Look Cloudy from the Ice Crystals

    Take a cup full of ice and fill your martini glass to brim.
    You want your glass to chill while you are making this cocktail.

  2. Take your cocktail shaker or large glass and fill it halfway with ice.
    Easy enough?
  3. Pour 3-4 ounces of vodka into your glass.
    A martini is basically a double shot of vodka, so around 3-4 ounces should be good.
  4. Pour about 1 teaspoon of Vermouth into your glass.
    This is the part that is going to take some practice. Vermouth is just a mild and subtle flavor in this drink and there doesn’t need to be much of it. Start out 1 teaspoon for now, and experiment with adding more. It will be up to your discretion.
  5. Take your cocktail shaker and cover it with the lid or another glass. If all you have is a glass, try to find a smaller glass to cover it or another container.
    The point of shaking your martini is so you can break off fragments from the larger pieces of ice to be added to your drink to help in chilling it for longer. It is also good at diluting your cocktail. This isn’t always a bad thing, since this cocktail is essentially all alcohol. The ice chips can sometimes change the flavor profile of the mixed drink.
  6. Dump out the ice in your martini glass and sift your cocktail into the glass. 
    You can use a bar sifter or use the two-cup technique. Your martini should be a cloudy liquid with ice crystals floating on the top.
  7. Drop in a speared green olive for taste and look.
    Adding one is mainly for aesthetic reasons, but some like 2 or 3 olives to enjoy the salty flavor of the olive with their martini.

 

Go the Extra Mile:

  • Adding olive juice to your martini will make a Dirty Martini
  • Asking for a Dry Martini refers to the amount of dry vermouth added.
  • Asking for a Martini with a Twist is where they add a twist of lemon peel to your cocktail while mixing it.
  • Adding a black olive instead of a green olive would make it a Buckeye.
  • Adding a cocktail onion instead of a green olive would make it a Gibson.
  • Adding a shot of scotch would make it a Smoke Martini.

 

So that is how you make a Vodka Martini. How to make a martini is one of the most important cocktails a person could ever learn to make. Nothing says class than drinking a fresh martini with an olive. You might even impress some people by your new found knowledge of getting a martini shaken or stirred. Whichever the case, I must return back to agent 007 and thank his character for making the martini in pop culture. Whichever way you like your drink, just don’t forget that James Bond prefers his cocktail, shaken not stirred.

 

3 comments

  1. I too like a K1. Many restaurants are now making them with green olives stuffed with blue cheese…this is my favorite for sure. I make them at home now. Thank you for the education.

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  2. Thanks so much for the great Vodka Martini recipe! Being of Danish decent I love Kettle One Vodka. I’ve tried many of the high end Vodkas and it’s my favorite Vodka bar none! No headache for this girl even if I have more than one. Your recipe using K1 makes a mean, edgy, martini for not so mean; but rather edgy people. Oh, and I never forget a green olive to top it off! Thanks again,
    Marilyn

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