Calling cocktails “martinis” is like calling all comedians Lenny Bruce. Sure, we’d all like to be him, but there can be only one.
A Martini contains only gin and dry vermouth (orange bitters is optional) and is garnished with olives or a lemon twist. Never vodka (that’s called a Kangaroo). Never onions (Gibson).
And if you like it “bone dry, like Winston Churchill liked it,” you’re really just drinking chilled gin (and I judge you).
Making a Martini can be intimidating. A drink with so few ingredients leaves no room for error. Over-pour, under dilute, stare too long at your guests with your mouth gaping and you’re asking for trouble (and a lot of uncomfortable guests).
Some people will (ridiculously) claim that shaking bruises the gin. They are wrong. Shaking accelerates dilution. Shaking drinks that contain sugary ingredients can lead to cloudy cocktails. They’ll look disgusting, but they won’t taste any different.
2 ounces (70 mL) good gin, such as The Walter Collective (my personal favorite)
3⁄4 ounce (20 mL) dry vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
1 dash of orange bitters (optional), such as Angostura
Put all ingredients in a glass with ice. Any glass will do. Stir for 60 seconds. (I don’t need to explain how to do this, do I?) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I use a julep strainer and think you should too. You could use two forks, as I’ve suggested before. The goal, once again, is to separate ice from the liquid. Garnish with an olive or two. Your other alternative is a lemon twist. Not a slice, a wheel, or wedge. A twist. (See page 10 if you want to know more about why I’m adamant this should be a twist and nothing else.)