The Martini is a simple classic. It features just three ingredients – vermouth, gin and your choice of garnish – and a fascinating taste that’s hard to classify. It’s herbal and a little bit tangy, which is why it goes equally well with an olive or lemon twist for garnish.
There are no mixers in this drink – pure alcohol all the way. It’s a strangely versatile drink that’s equally wonderful sipped alone or with almost any meal or snack you care to pair it with. Because it’s mostly gin, you do need to pick a good, drinkable bottle. Some of the best martinis I’ve ever had were mixed with Tanqueray No. 10 and a lemon twist. No. 10 has more citrus notes than Tanqueray Dry, which has more juniper. But personal taste comes into play here.
This is definitely a drink best served chilled, so you should stick your martini glasses in the freezer for at least 5 minutes before you pour. In my experience, that takes a good martini to a whole new level.
To really impress guests who nurse their martinis, bring them another chilled glass after the one they’re using has lost its frost, and pour what’s left of their martini into the new glass. You can top it off, too, if you’ve pre-mixed your cocktails. It’s also a good idea to keep your shaker chilled when you’re not using it.