Secrets to making the best martini

A great martini can be the stuff of legend. If you’re the best of your friends, it can turn your house parties into “must” events. So what’s the secret? Here are a few insider tips from the Fox and Hound Sports Tavern’s Robin Harper.

Some bartenders have turned martinis into an art. Thanks to James Bond, “shaken not stirred” has become a part of cult vocabulary, even if we aren’t totally sure what it means.

A great martini can be the stuff of legend. If you’re the best of your friends, it can turn your house parties into “must” events.

secret_martini1So what’s the secret? Here are a few insider tips from the Fox and Hound Sports Tavern’s Robin Harper.

1. SHAKE IT. “A lot of shaking will go a long way,” Harper said. “It changes the look of a martini. It’s frothy and cold, but not watery.”

Hold up your shaker with both hands and give it a good 15 to 20 seconds of shake. Little specs of ice should be a part of your drink.

2. DON’T BE CHEAP. “Good vodka or gin goes a long way in a martini,” she said. “There is a difference.”

Her suggestions? Kettle One is quality enough to make a great martini, but not top-shelf to where you will be handing over your entire wallet.

3. ASK QUESTIONS. Although James Bond made the dry vodka martini famous, Harper said, people are moving away from it. Before assuming your guests can handle the burn that comes with vodka or gin and vermouth, ask what they normally drink.

“If they aren’t used to it, they’re probably not ready for it,” Harper said.

4. WATCH YOUR GLASSWARE. “Most guys won’t drink out of a martini glass,” she said. “We’ll put it in a rocks glass for them.”

Long-stemmed martini glasses are usually associated with “girly” drinks, thanks to “Sex and the City’s” cosmopolitans.

5. GARNISH IS KING. Martinis are nearly all clear liquor, so what you decide to use as a garnish will completely change the taste of the drink. A dirty martini is made with very light vermouth and olive juice and is garnished with green olives. Other classic garnishes are a lemon “zest” (just a small piece of the rind) or cocktail onions. Some people add bitters to cut the vodka.

James Bond’s vodka martinisecret_martini2

  • 1 1/2 ounces premium vodka
  • 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes bitters (optional)
  • Lemon twist or 3 olives for garnish

FOX AND HOUND SPECIALTY MARTINIS
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • 1 1/4 ounces UV cake vodka
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounces banana liqueur
  • grenadine “sink” (just enough to settle to the bottom for color)

Key Lime Pie

  • 2 ounces Van Gogh Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces key lime pie syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces cream
  • 1 ounce sour mix
  • graham cracker crust around the edges