The Dry Martini, The Quintessential
Written by Eileen Forster Keck   

The Dry MartiniThe Martini is probably the most classic cocktail of all time. Just the name conjures up images of Nick Charles mixing one to an admiring crowd of bartenders in The Thin Man, of Nora's demand that five more be lined up for her (and her subsequent hangover), of Robert Benchley telling Ginger Rogers she should slip out of her wet things and into a dry...but you get the picture.

A dry Martini is what most people ask for, and it's what they've always expected to be served. One thing has changed, however. Back in the 20's and 30's, a dry Martini held quite a bit of vermouth alongside the gin.

According to The Savoy Cocktail Book, a Martini (dry) Cocktail was 2/3 gin and 1/3 dry vermouth. The foolish bartender who tried to sell those proportions nowadays would loose not only his tip, but maybe his customer, too, for good. Some things have changed for the better since the 1930s.

The Dry Martini
  • 2 –3 jiggers of very good gin*
  • dry vermouth
  • garnish (either an olive or a strip of lemon zest)

Take a cocktail shaker filled with clean, dry ice, and measure in the gin. Pour some dry vermouth into the jigger and sprinkle a few drops into the shaker (discard the rest). Shake vigorously, and strain out into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish. If using the lemon peel, twist until the oils come to the surface, and rub the peel gently around the rim before dropping into the glass.

*I prefer Miller's or Bombay Sapphire, both British gins. Yes, thanks to James Bond, you can make it with vodka. But for heaven's sake, don't tell my father—or anyone at The Algonquin!


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