Martinis are stylish cocktails made of gin or vodka and dry vermouth, and garnished with lemon or an olive. From the traditional Gin Aston (gin + vermouth + olive) to trendier, easier-to-down vodka martinis like the Bellini (peach nectar + peach schnapps + lemon peel) and the Cosmo (lime juice + cranberry juice + triple sec + grand marnier + lemon wedge), they come in gorgeous glasses and make for elegant accessories at social gatherings.
We interviewed Zack Hoffman-Rogers, a bartender at Colette — one of Toronto’s trendiest eateries — to get insider info on James Bond’s drink of choice.
LC: What’s the key to a good martini?
Z: If we’re talking about classic martinis, it’s about selecting the right gin based on palate. Some customers love new style, modern martinis made of gins with less juniper and more citrus (such as Tanqueray No. Ten). Others prefer classic-style martinis made of gins that are predominantly juniper flavoured (such as the London dry gin Beefeater).
LC: Where do people usually go wrong when making martinis?
Z: People don’t know when to shake and when to stir! The rule of thumb with cocktails is this: if it’s cloudy (as anything containing citrus will be), shake. If it’s clear, stir (so as not to bruise the gin and dilute the drink).
LC: What’s your favourite Colette martini and why?
Z: I’m currently obsessed with the classic martini. To make it: in a mixing glass, add three ounces of Tanqueray No. Ten gin and half an ounce of dolin dry vermouth. Pour in ice and stir for 20 seconds. Strain the contents into a martini glass then cut a liberal sized lemon peel and spray the oils over the martini. The notes of lemon, lime and white grapefruit are what make this gin simple yet sensational.
Use these martini tools and vessels in conjunction with your newly acquired knowledge to impress guests and get the party started: