The classic martini is a mainstay in cocktail culture, but its spotless name and reputation have been tarnished over the last few years by things like fruit, chocolate, bacon (sorry guys, but keep that shit away from my martini), and the stupid names ascribed to these goofy-ass offshoots.
I don’t necessarily understand why or when people started serving daiquiris in martini glasses or why anyone would ever order some bullshit like an appletini, but I feel it’s important to take a stand and let it be known here and now that those things are not martinis. They are blasphemy.
And let me also preface the rest of this by saying I’m not some macho man and I don’t give a shit what booze gets your rocks off, but I do care about martinis because a proper one is the nectar of the gods. It’s a classic. A hero. And it should be regarded as such.
What is a classic martini?
A classic martini is little more than gin (or vodka, if you must) and a little dry vermouth. No sugary fluff, no chocolate drizzle, no milk or egg yolk or whatever the fuck else you people have decided to ruin it with. I don’t want it topped with a cherry, and I sure as shit don’t want it to be presented with an obnoxious color. Oh, and so help me God if you bring a kiwi or a strawberry anywhere near that glass—I will smack the living shit out of you.
What is acceptable?
Like I said above, feel free to drink whatever you want. It’s a free country. You want fruity tooty? You want a liquid hangover? You want to look like you’re drinking Red Bull and toxic waste? Do you, player! Enjoy it! But if you want to order a martini, have some goddamn respect and do it right:
Gin or vodka are the only acceptable options. Anything else makes you a dickhead.
People will bust your balls over the vermouth, but personally, I don’t care whether you like your martini dry or “wet” (dry meaning you like less dry vermouth in your glass, and wet meaning you like it a little heavier on the dry vermouth). Dry vermouth is essentially a sweeter fortified wine that you’d never drink straight. It’ll give the drink some flavor without making it sugary.
In the old days, believe it or not, martinis were served on the wet side. Personally, I like my martinis dry, and instead ask for them to be served dirtier, which means with a little olive juice—you know, because I’m bitter as fuck. It is also acceptable to, in lieu of an olive, have your martini served “with a twist,” which just means with a small twist of lemon peel. This gives the martini a more citrusy feel without getting overbearing.
The best thing about the classic martini is that two people can order it, but one with an olive and one with a twist, and they will be completely different drinks.
Find out what you like and have fun, but leave that fruity shit behind the bar where it belongs.