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The classic martini is perhaps best known thanks to the preference of a certain legendary British spy, though most bartenders would probably take issue with his insistence on having the drink “shaken, not stirred.” The traditional martini recipe calls for a 3:1 ratio of gin and dry vermouth, stirred with ice before being strained into a cocktail glass. However, there are plenty of ways to modify the renowned cocktail of cocktails to suit your tastes.
Have It Your Way
Kapow offers up some common, simple ways to adapt the standard martini recipe by adding a variety of garnishments, or even changing the liquor involved. It’s customary for a martini to be served with olives, but you can also ask the bartender to mix it up a little — pun most certainly intended — with the following alterations:
Do the twist. Asking the bartender to make your martini with a twist tells him or her that you would like to swap out the olives and replace them with a lemon garnish.
Make it wet. If you like your cocktails a bit on the sweeter side, you can have a bit more vermouth added for a wet martini.
Dry it out. You can opt to tone the sweetness down with less vermouth by requesting a dry martini. If you want hardly any vermouth at all, ask the bartender to prepare a very dry martini for you.
Onions über olives. Replace the olives in a classic martini with onions by asking the barkeep to mix up a Gibson.
Get dirty. If you really like the taste of olives and want some more, tell the bartender you want a dirty martini, which incorporates olive brine or juice.
Make like a kangaroo. Martinis don’t have to be made with gin. You can get the bartender to swap in vodka by asking for a kangaroo or vodkatini.
Take It to the Next Level
Now that you have a handle on the basics, you can take your journey toward official martini aficionado status even further by learning to make some adventurous recipes at home. Impress your friends on the next Martini Day, first by letting them know there is such a thing as Martini Day, and then by wowing them with delicious ideas from Drizly such as:
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Martini — Dessert in a martini glass, served up by combining peanut butter, of all things, with crème de cacao, half & half or cream, chocolate liqueur, and vanilla vodka into a decadent feast for the sweet tooth.
Spiced Bourbon Beer Maple Martini — This one’s bold, mixing dried chilies, dark beer, nutmeg, maple syrup, and bourbon for a one-of-a-kind concoction.
Espresso Martini — Absolut and Kahlúa are combined with espresso for a martini with a little pick-me-up.
Blue Monday — Blue Curacao, Triple Sec, and vodka merge to give life to this martini with an intriguing blue hue.
Spiced Caramel Apple Martini — Create the flavor of a caramel apple with caramel vodka, ginger liqueur, apple cider, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Garnish with tasty gingersnap cookies.
Earl Grey MarTEAni — Mixing ingredients such as egg whites, lemon juice, and Earl Grey tea makes for a fun twist on the old classic.
The Wall Street Journal tempts the connoisseur’s palate with a slate of high-brow martini recipes that include the following:
Normandie Club Martini uses specially made salt water, sherry, and syrup made from raw white honey to highlight the vodka at the center of the drink.
Straight Law uses sherry in lieu of the vermouth and doubles up on the garnish, using both olives and a lemon twist.
Astoria Bianco makes a wetter martini, thanks to the sweetness offered by Bianco vermouth.
Upside Down Dirty Gibson combines onion brine with wormwood and lemon bitters with the classic gin and vermouth. A cocktail onion that’s been pickled serves as the garnish.
Vesper mixes gin, vodka, an aperitif wine, and bitters to produce a distinctive martini that uses a bit of fire to finish the twist of orange.
Savory Martini throws cucumbers and a burnt sprig of absinthe-dipped thyme into the mix for a unique martini that evokes steaks.
Stir up Some Fun
Martinis are classy, elegant drinks that can be made with many degrees of complexity in ingredients to produce a broad range of sophisticated refreshments with wildly different taste profiles. Enjoying a martini may not make you a deadly secret agent, but it could lend a more refined quality to your next night out on the town (or night in) with friends.