Thursday, August 13, 2009

Urban Bar: Martinis for Two

With Mad Men premiering this weekend, expect to hear martini glasses clinking througout the land. Here is a piece I wrote for Slashfood about my favorite martini gin: New Amsterdam. This silken gin, with its flirtatious lemony top and brisk juniper mid-note, makes a smart, sexy martini.

I make my martinis clean, with an exact two-to-one ratio of gin to vermouth. The recipe is below. This is a shaken martini, which results in a satiny texture; for a more strident stirred martini, build in a pitcher. I brine the olives briefly in the vermouth and include plenty of them in a glass so icy it shocks. And before you ask, remember: absent gin, it's not a martini!

Martinis for Two

For the olives
One small jar pimento-stuffed green olives
Two tablespoons dry vermouth

For the martinis
Two shots gin
One shot dry vermouth
One lemon, preferably organic

1. Set a small colander or sieve over a small bowl and drain the olives, reserving the brine.

2. Place olives into a small bowl. Add the vermouth and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate while you build the martinis.*

3. Ice down two martini glasses: place ice in the well of each glass and fill with cold water. Set aside.

4. Clean and dry the lemon. Use a zester or small paring knife to exise a strip of peel about one inch in length.

5. Empty the ice water from the martini glasses and set in freezer. Settle a few olives into the well of each glass.

6. Fill a shaker with ice. Add the lemon peel. Measure the gin and vermouth into the shaker. Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously -- up and down, not side to side -- until the top is too cold to touch.

7. Decant martini into iced glasses and serve.

*Note: return any unused olives to their jar with the reserved vermouth; add reserved brine to the fill line.