Drifting into Friday, the martini is the last post of the Six Classic Cocktails from David Embury’s book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, first published in 1948 and considered to be one of the great cocktail books. Not a bartender or one associated with a liquor firm, Embury was an accomplished lawyer with a Wall Street firm, but was passionate about the whys and wherefores of food and drink. His book delves into all facets of the cocktail-from proper glassware, bar equipment, basic principles to in depth discussions on liquors, bitters and even how to prevent hangovers.
I’ve saved the Martini for the last, but not least of the six basic cocktails. Embury considered the Martini to be the most perfect of apéritif cocktails, but says the average Martini served at home or at a bar is anything but perfect. Poor quality liquors and skewered proportions are its undoing. The conventional proportions are one-third Vermouth to two-thirds gin. However, Embury is adamant that the gin be a good English gin(House of Lords) and the Vermouth, French(Noilly Prat). He then gets very technical on the percentages of the two spirits and comes up with a 3-1 gin to vermouth versus a 7-1 gin to vermouth based on the alcoholic content of each. Even though he prefers the 7-1 ratio, he severely criticizes those who insist the Martini is only perfect if made exactly to their specified proportions.
Highly opinionated, especially concerning the Martini, he lists three basic Martini’s you would find in a bar -a dry Martini, a medium Martini and a sweet Martini; though he stands firm on his preferred 7-1 ratio.
1 part French Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
2 parts iced English Gin (I’ve used Plymouth’s)
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1 part French Vermouth
1 part Italian Vermouth(I used Cinzano Extra Dry)
2 to 4 parts Gin
1 dash Orange Bitters & 1 dash Angostura
1 part Italian Vermouth
2 parts Gin
1 part Lillet Vermouth
7 parts House of the Lords Gin (Booth’s gin)
Choose your drink ingredients-stir well in a bar glass or Martini pitcher with large cubes of ice and pour into chilled cocktail glasses. Add an olive to the dry Martini, the Martini Deluxe and maraschino cherries to the Medium and Sweet Martinis.
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