19 Jan The Perfect Martini
Let’s start with the basics. If you want a passable, totally acceptable dry martini, it’s actually very easy. However, like most simple things, it’s very easy to do it right but even easier to do it wrong.
Start with pouring 60ml of quality London dry gin (I like Tanqueray) and 10ml of quality dry vermouth (again Noilly Prat for choice) into an appropriate mixing vessel. Stir for ten seconds over reasonably sized ice (any direction) and strain into preferred glass. Garnish with whatever you desire; olives or a citrus twist traditionally. There will be no coating of the ice and straining, rimming the glass with the vermouth or other ‘techniques’ employed by ‘bartenders’. The vermouth needs to remain in the drink unless specifically asked for by Winston Churchill himself. Simple, easy, and literally the perfect drink… can’t go wrong with that!
However, the “Perfect Martini”, and not perfect in the terms of sweet to dry vermouth ratio (little bartender joke there), but perfect in the common vernacular, is obviously a subjective measure. The martini is a little bit like art, music and lingerie: we all know what we like (or at least we should). My “Perfect Martini” is as follows. It’s a bit left of centre, a bit of fun, more Paris than London, more de Sade than Churchill and absolutely delicious.
We’ll start with the gin. In this case, it’s one of the best distilled gins we’ve ever encountered, the Audemus Pink Pepper. From the Cognac region of France, it’s an absolutely astonishing drop, produced using ultra-modern distillation and infusion techniques. With the piquant notes of its eponymous pink pepper up front, smoothed out by the seductive back notes of tonka and vanilla beans, it maintains an incredible freshness and lightness on the weight of the palate.
Having found this almost perfect gin, we move onto the vermouth. Taking some beautiful Alsatian pinot gris, we then reduce it over a low heat with various complimentary aromatics (in this case vanilla and coffee beans, lemon peel, coriander seeds and strawberries). Once the aromatised wine has reduced sufficiently (by about half), we fortify it with a light cognac and some mathematics to achieve an ABV of 18%. Then, when the first stage of the vermouth is finished, we utilise nitrous oxide pressure vessels (cream guns) with bagged chips of aged American oak to finalise the vermouth with a toasted coconut finish (rather than ageing for twelve months or more in actual barrels).
Once the vermouth is completed, we combine, at a ratio of six to two to one. We combine 60mL Audemus gin, 20mL distilled water and 10mL of our customised vermouth respectively in a sealed container and leave to rest and chill to exactly three degrees Celsius. At this point our perfect martini is almost complete. All that remains is to briefly agitate the container and then pour 90ml into an appropriate glass, garnishing with dehydrated strawberry crisps.