Martini: Shaken or Stirred?

In cocktail terms, the word “perfect” typically means that the drink will include equal parts of both dry and sweet vermouth. That’s exactly what you get in the perfect martini and it’s a fabulous drink for anyone who loves gin.

This recipe is the “perfect” version of the classic gin martini. You can also mix up a perfect Manhattan, while other “perfect” cocktails go by other names such as the affinity, which features scotch. And yet, the perfect martini made with gin is the most popular of them all. It’s an ideal drink for dinner or anytime you want to celebrate that perfect pairing of gin and vermouth.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Lemon twist, or olives, for garnish

In a mixing glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin and both vermouths. Stir well for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or skewer of olives. Serve and enjoy.

With just three ingredients, it’s important that you pay attention to quality if you want the best cocktail. A drink like this deserves premium gin and vermouth.

Stirred Martini

Nose: The nose of a martini is a lovely thing, subtle and herbal and bitter. The stirred martini has notes of pine, bitter orange peel, and juniper — not too overpowering. The aroma of the vermouth was almost indistinct and served mostly to highlight the aromas of the gin.

Palate: The initial taste of the stirred martini was briny, lightly acidic sea salt from the vermouth. Then came the gin, with the promise of the nose being borne out by juniper, bitter citrus peel, and a light Christmas-tree pine. Gin can be a tough thing for an alcohol novice to wrap their heads around, but a martini is a good, aromatic, interesting way to try something new.

Shaken Martini

Nose: The nose of the shaken martini was similar to the stirred martini, if perhaps a bit more piney. The decision of shaking or stirring didn’t seem to factor much into the nose.

Palate: Here’s where things get radically different. To start, the shaken martini was much colder, as a result of the gin being shaken up with the ice. (Many shaken martinis will even have ice chips in the drink, which some drinkers consider offensive.) The chill of the drink translated over to the taste, which was light and very, very subtle, almost to the point of not tasting like much of anything at all. There were slight notes of juniper and peel and pine, but they were buried beneath a watery simplicity. As the martini warmed up, the flavor became a bit stronger, but it was still more jumbled and indistinct than the stirred martini.

1 Comment

Filed under Steven Doyle

One response to “Martini: Shaken or Stirred?

  1. DFWsteve

    Many savvy drinkers now prefer a traditional chilled coupe over a cone glass.

Leave a Reply