Shaken or Stirred: How to Make a Martini

Shaken or Stirred: How to Make a Martini

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  1.  James Bond is a pansy. There, I said it, and I can back up my claim. When it comes to martinis, a shaken drink as opposed to one that is stirred is inevitably more watered down, as the friction caused by the agitation of shaking creates more heat and consequently melts more ice. Therefore, shaken martinis are usually weaker than stirred drinks, and that makes James Bond a pansy.

    I still wouldn’t tell him that to his face… if he existed.

     Traditionally, martinis were made with gin and a dab of dry vermouth. Thanks in part to Ian Fleming (no relation to Peggy Fleming that I know of, though I understand that both suffer from the same excessive nasal discharge problem), today’s martini consists of vodka and little else. Some people still enjoy a smidgen of vermouth in their drink, though most prefer theirs without it. Unfortunately, the majority of martini drinkers don’t know how to order their drink properly and often ask for a “dry” vodka martini, thinking that it will contain no vermouth. Of course, this depends largely on the bartender and his training, but I learned from the National Bartender’s School, and by God I’ll stand by their definitions until the day I die—or at least until I find a bartender who can make me a martini the way that I like it. I think my demise may come first.

    • A Standard Martini consists of three ounces of gin or vodka added to a mixing glass previously filled with cube ice, along with a splash (1/4 ounce or less) of dry vermouth, then shaken or stirred and served into a stemmed, previously chilled glass and garnished with at least two large green olives; not garlic- or jalapeno-stuffed olives, but plain old pimento-stuffed olives.
    • A Dry Martini is exactly the same thing, only the vermouth is not added to the mixing glass. Instead, the bartender pours a slight amount of dry vermouth into the stemmed glass, twirls the glass to distribute the vermouth around the interior, then shakes the glass out over a sink, leaving only a residue inside the glass. The drink is then poured and served, with the olives.
    • An Extra Dry Martini is what most people think of when they order a “dry” martini: it contains no vermouth at all. Some bartenders will idiotically wave the vermouth bottle over the mixing glass, as if this imparts some magical effect, but it only makes them look foolish.
    • A Dirty Martini follows any of the recipes above but includes a splash of juice from the olive jar, which gives the drink a distinctive cloudy—or dirty—appearance.
    • The Wagtini is a family recipe, and if you ever have the honor of mixing me a drink, this is exactly how I want it: Fill the mixing glass with ice; add three ounces of vodka and a small splash of olive juice; let the glass stand for about a minute, then stir at a moderate rate for another minute (yes, it’s watered down a bit; I never claimed that I wasn’t a pansy, too). I like a classic “dry” martini, so drip a few drops of dry vermouth into the previously chilled stemmed glass, swirl it around and shake out the remains. Pour the martini into the stemmed glass and serve with four huge olives. Here’s the kicker: open a tin of anchovies; remove four filets and pat them dry with a paper towel, then drape them over the lip of the stemmed glass. Yes, I love anchovies with my martini.  It’s more than a little strange, and for those who loathe anchovies I wouldn’t recommend it, but this is my favorite cocktail.

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