Before making Martinis, you should prepare what you need:
- Gin or vodka: can be stored on the shelf out of direct sunlight, or if you’re making a Direct Martini (see Method), put it in the freezer. We recommend just transferring 100ml or so in a small bottle. Most freezers aren’t cold enough to freeze gin and vodka (it depends on ABV, but 40% ABV spirits will freeze at about -27°C), but it will come out as a viscous liquid.
- Vermouth: must always be stored in a fridge once opened and consumed within 6 weeks, as it will oxidise (like wine, it goes off). We strongly recommend investing in vacuum wine stoppers (e.g. VacuVin) while storing vermouth in the fridge.
- Garnish: you will need fresh unwaxed lemons (for Twists), pickled silverskin onions (for Gibsons), or Olives in brine (for Dirty Martinis)
- Ice: If stirring, or shaking a Martini (see method) you will need good quality ice. Preferably clear cubed ice.
- Glass: Because a Martini is served without ice, the glass must be frozen. It takes a freezer at least 15 minutes to freeze a glass, so just put a dry glass in the freezer. While a V-shaped glass is known as the 'Martini' glass, we actually recommend using the old champagne coupe or Nick & Nora style glasses for Martinis, as that’s what they were originally served in. However, any good stemware (glass with a stem, even a wine glass) will work for a Martini – by holding the stem your hands don’t heat up the glass and therefore the drink stays colder for longer.
- You’ll need a good vegetable peeler and knife for lemon twists.
- Cocktail sticks for olives and onions.
- If stirring you will need a mixing glass, a bar spoon and either a Hawthorne or Julep strainer. You can substitute the mixing glass with a pint glass, a bar spoon for a teaspoon and something long like a chopstick and the strainer just holds back the ice while pouring.
- If shaking, you will need a Cocktail Shaker and a Hawthorne strainer and a fine strainer (i.e. a small sieve or tea strainer). You can substitute a shaker with a thick solid jar and use the cap to hold back the ice.
- And if you’re serving direct you just need the glass and the gin frozen.
The more you get into cocktails, the more you learn about the importance of ice.
Ice should always be handled by tools, either a scoop or tongs, never touched as it begins melting and interfering with dilution.
Ice with air bubbles (the trapped cloudy hue) melts much faster than clear ice. Equally ice with a larger surface area (i.e. crushed ice) will melt much quicker.
You want lots of ice that’s as clear as possible and as big as possible, to take up at least half of the container (mixing glass or glass) you put it in.