Making a Good Martini

July 10, 2010

Here, at the Academy of Professional Bartending School in Westchester New York, We are  committed to insure that every student receives an education that enables them to attain the highest levels of achievement possible. Here you will find a true barroom environmnet for stimulated learning , a relevant and challenging curriculum and an active dynamic partnership with the hospitality communities. Our campus really is a place to build a solid foundation as a bartender. We promote real hands-on training behind fully functional bars on state-of-the-art equipment. We train and help you develop the  imperative speed and knowledge of all the popular drinks. We encourage that with attention on classic as well as creating new and exotic cocktails. This  prepares our students to work in ANY environment that serves alcohol with confidence.

Please enjoy these ongoing series on proper cocktail preparation . Loaded with histories and facts. For more drink recipes <—-click here.

Today’s article is:

How to Properly Make the Classic Martini

The Martini’s Dawning

Who created the first martini? No one knows , but there seems to be two stories with some validity . One suggestion is that the martini is a variation of the Martinez cocktail (considered by many to be “the great grandfather of the Martini cocktail”) created in Martinez, California and was popular during the late 1800’s. Another suggests it was Jerry Thomas (his signature drink The Blue Blazer) because of his pioneering work in popularizing cocktails across the country; he is considered “the father of American mixology. In either case there is no drink that has gained status or popularity quite like the martini.


Gin is a distilled spirit whose  paramount taste is derived from juniper berries. Gin is widely into two basic legal categories. Distilled gin is crafted in the normal traditional manner, by re-distilling neutral spirit of agricultural origin with juniper berries and other botanicals. Compound gin is made by simply flavoring neutral spirit with essences and/or other ‘natural flavorings’ without re-distillation, and is not as highly regarded .

It was during prohibition that the martini skyrocketed to fame . With the rapid growth of speakeasies, the increase for alcohol rose as well. Whiskies took too long to age to keep up with the requests. On the other side of the coin , Gin could be manufactured quickly and cheaply , and so became the drink of choice. Bathtub gin refers to any style of homemade spirit made in amateur conditions. The term first appeared in 1930, during the prohibition era, in reference to the low -quality spirit that was being distilled .

As gin was the predominant drink in the Roaring 20’s, many variations were created by mixing cheap grain alcohol with water and flavorings and other agents, such as juniper berry juice and glycerin. Contrary to popular belief, the spirit was not made in a bathtub. Rather, because the preferred sort of bottle was too tall to be topped off with water from a sink, they were filled from a bathtub tap.

Many other cocktails owe their life to bathtub gin, as they were also created in order to mask the awful taste.

With prohibition over, the government imposed standards on alcohol production. As different brands of gin became more uniform, the recipe for a classic martini became standard as well.


There are three general styles of vermouth, in order from driest to sweetest: extra dry, bianco/white, and sweet/red. Sweet red vermouth is drunk as an apéritif, often straight up, as well as in mixed drinks like the Manhattan. Dry white vermouth, along with gin, is a key ingredient in the mixing of martinis. Red vermouths are sometimes referred to as Italian vermouths and white vermouths as French vermouths, although not all Italian vermouths are red and not all French vermouths are white.

Stirred Never Shaken

Shaking a martini is a cardnial sin amongst true martini drinkers. Stirring is the preferred method of blending. They like them crystal clear and cold. By shaking the drink, it becomes cloudy due to air bubbles, causes the ice to release too much water, and “bruises” the flavor of the gin. By stirring gently for 30 seconds, you chill the drink properly and release only the required amount of water. 

The Classic Martini Recipe


A. Glass: Chilled Cocktail / Rx

B. ½ oz. Dry Vermouth

C. 3 oz. Gin

D. Stir gently and strain

E. 3 Olive garnish

1. Half fill a pint glass with ice.

2. Next, remove the dry vermouth from the fridge. It needs to be refrigerated, 1) because it’s a perishable item and 2) it makes the drink colder, therefore better tasting. Pour ½ oz. over the ice

3. Gently stir the ice so as to coat it and the glass with vermouth. .

4. Remove the gin from the freezer. Pour 2 ½ – 3 oz over the coated ice

5. Begin to gently stir the mixture for 30 seconds. so as not to bruise the gin. Gin needs to be gently introduced to the vermouth, and there MUST be some ice melt dilution.

6. Garnish with 3 olives threw a skewer and place skewer over the cocktail glass, not in it!.

7. Strain the cocktail over the olive skewer into a martini glass.

8. Enjoy


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