Recipe: Vodka Martini
Given that it’s Vodka Week, and given that the Bartender has (until today) been short a set of shot glasses to properly freeze, she has been evaluating each in the next best medium: the vodka martini. Not only has it provided a framework within which each spirit can display its talents, but her general preference for gin martinis has assured her ability to simultaneously discern the vermouth from the spirit itself, judge how the two combine (if at all), and also to analyze how the vodka versions stack up in terms of overall flavor.
The vodka martini is perhaps best-known as James Bond’s preferred drink, and as with so many things, Agent 007 knew exactly the right way to do it. “Ice cold” is your watchphrase here, and as we’ve learned, shaking tends to make a drink colder and slightly more diluted than stirring. Gin martinis are traditionally stirred, true, but a vodka martini both benefits from the additional chill of shaking and bears the dilution far better than its cousin.
One final note: while the Bartender does not believe in bone-dry Martinis of either sort (what’s the point of making the Martini if there’s no vermouth flavor to complement the spirit?), vodka has a naturally subtler flavor than gin, and therefore works best in a drier setting. Your ultimate preferred proportions will likely take a few tries to discover, but hey – the trial-and-error is part of the fun!
2 oz. high-quality vodka
1/4 oz. dry vermouth
Shake both ingredients with a good handful of ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with your favorite Martini garnish – lemon twist, olives, cocktail onion, etc. Bonus points if you manage to come up with a garnish especially appropriate to the vodka brand used.