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8 Things You Need to Make the Ultimate Martini

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martini

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8 Things You Need to Make the Ultimate Martini

It may have only two ingredients, not counting garnish, but this classic cocktail stirs (shakes?) endless controversy.

ice

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Ice

This is your first step and it should be done long before you start making your martini. You’ll need lots of ice and you want it to be good ice. You don’t want ice from that tray that’s in between the frozen garlic and the leaking ice cream container. You also don’t want ice from the faucet you won’t even drink from. Splurge on some bottled water and new ice trays – covered with Ziplocs if you can’t keep the freezer odors at away.

martini

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Martini Glasses

Don’t spend all your time making a good martini and then pouring it into any old glass. Invest in a couple of martini glasses. Riedel is the most popular name for wine and cocktail glasses, but you don’t have to splurge that much to make the ultimate martini. Purchase stemmed martini glasses that can stand the cold, because you’ll need them chilled in the freezer for at least an hour before you make your cocktail.

shot glass

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Shot Glass (or Jigger)

Proper measurements are a must to make a perfect martini. Save your measuring cup for baking the cookies. You need a shot glass or a jigger — a double-sided shot glass, usually in stainless steel instead of glass — to get the exact proportions of one shot of vermouth and two shots of gin.

Shaker

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Shaker

Whether you are having your martini shaken or stirred, you’ll need a shaker, or at least a large mixing glass. It’s a good idea to pre-chill the shaker for a bit so the ice stays completely frozen when you put it in. You’ll want to fill the shaker about three-quarters with ice so that there’s plenty in there, but there is also room to shake or stir.

Vermouth

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Dry Vermouth

There are two varieties of this fortified wine made with a variety of herbs and spices: dry (which is clear or yellowish in color) and sweet (which is red). Need we specify that you want the dry kind here? Vermouth is not a liquor you would normally sit and sip, but it is essential to a martini. It’s very aromatic, but the taste when you drink it by itself doesn’t always live up to the flavor promised by the aroma. The balance when added to gin works just right in a martini.

Gin

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Gin

The gin you choose will definitely affect the taste of your martini. All gins are different, as the only criterion for calling something gin is that it must be a neutral spirit flavored with juniper. Beyond that, you’ll find a selection of herbs and fruits adding mild notes to the spirit. For example, Beefeater Gin is rich in botanicals and lemon, while Tanqueray Ten has a stronger orange flavor. Bombay Gin, on the other hand, is blended delicately with eight different flavors so no one stands out. Hendricks adds cucumber to the mix.

mixing

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Strainer

Once your liquor is poured in and you’ve chosen to shaken or stirred, you need to get the ice out of your drink with a strainer. Many cocktail shakers come with a strainer built in on top so it will just be a matter of pouring your drink into the glass. If you stirred your martini, you’ll want to get a separate strainer, holding it over the top of your mixing cup as you slowly pour through it into the (chilled) martini glass.

garnish

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Garnish

You can garnish your martini with olives or with a lemon peel, but don’t use a slice of lemon, as it will alter the taste of your drink. Which you use is a matter of taste. Cocktail onions are reserved for the Gibson. Once your martini is complete, be sure to serve it holding onto the stem so that you no longer shake (or stir) it, or warm it up prematurely.

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8 Things You Need to Make the Ultimate Martini