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Celebrate World Martini Day With the Help of This Pro Bartender

Toast to World Martini Day With This Seriously Good, Classic Cocktail

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By Bon Appetit US | June 15, 2024 | Recipes

The hardest things to master are often the simplest. Take the martini. Put gin and vermouth in a glass and you’re good to go, right? Not quite. With only two ingredients—three if you count the twist (and we do)—there’s no room for error. Ingredients matter, tools matter, techniques matter. So I met up with Amy Saunders, one of the forces behind America’s cocktail revolution. After an afternoon of cracking, mixing, and twisting, I knew what she meant when she told me: “A martini is all about confidence.” —Dawn Perry

How to Make a Classic Martini

4 oz. Beefeater gin¾oz, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, 1 lemon

More icy surface area means faster chilling and less dilution, so we crack the cubes instead of using them whole.

1. Nice Ice, Baby

Hold a large ice cube in the centre of your palm. Use the back of a bar spoon (really, any spoon will work) to crack it into smaller jagged pieces. Transfer ice to a mixing glass and repeat until you’ve got enough cracked ice to fill glass.

The classic martini is a smooth mix of gin, vermouth, and the zest of a lemon. Image: Supplied.

2. A Smooth Mix

Add gin and vermouth (it doesn’t matter what order). Just like in cooking, you should taste your ingredients separately and try to pair them thoughtfully (see the chart above for other Saunders pairings).

Your hand transfers heat. That’s why pros never grab the glass while stirring; they just rest a thumb on the rim to steady it.

When it comes to the classic, clean martini, ingredients matter, tools matter, techniques matter. Image: Supplied.

3. It’s All in the Wrist

Bond was wrong. Shaking breaks up the ice, which leads to overdiluted martinis. Some dilution is good; it softens the spirits so you can taste the botanicals, not just the heat of the alcohol. Rapidly stir 50 times—count to 50, for real!—in a circular motion; the outside of the glass will be very cold and frosty.

4. No Strain, No Gain

Using a Hawthorne strainer, which fits snugly over the top of a mixing glass, or a slotted spoon (in a pinch), strain martini into a chilled Nick and Nora glass. Strain any remaining martini into a “sidecar” (use a mini-carafe—on ice, of course), possibly the greatest drinking add-on ever invented.

Using a Hawthorne strainer will ensure your martini is as legitimate as one made by a professional bartender. Image: Supplied.

Do the Twist

A lemon twist is the classic way to incorporate citrus notes into a martini. Here’s how to do it:1. Use a small knife to remove a 1" piece of peel, including some of the white pith.2. From a distance of 4 or 5 inches, squeeze peel over drink to express oils. The heavier, more bitter oils will fall to the counter, while the lighter, sweeter oils will hit the drink.3. Rub the outside of the peel around the rim of the glass, then gently float it on top of the cocktail, yellow side up.

This story originally appeared on Bon Appetit US.