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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Ultimate Vodka Martini

Since the primary ingredient of a Vodka Martini is vodka, you will want to use your best, and be sure to store it in the freezer. (See my paragraph on vodka in Stocking Your Bar.) The best Vodka Martini I ever had was at La Caille Restaurant right here in Utah while attending a private party. A friend told me they had great Martinis, so I asked the server for one and he recommended a dry, Grey Goose® Martini. I ordered one with two olives and had it in my hand about three minutes later. It was fantastic! The vodka was straight from the freezer and you could actually feel ice crystals in it as you drank. The worst Vodka Martini I ever had was at La Caille Restaurant right here in Utah at the very same party. We had just sat down at the table, and since the first martini was so good, I decided to have another. (This is not always the prudent thing to do, but I wasn’t driving.) The server brought it 25 minutes later, so I thought that the bar must really be backed up. The first tepid sip revealed the real problem – the server had let my drink sit on the bar for at least 20 minutes. What a disappointment. There is a lesson there, though. Martinis should be served and sipped as soon as they are poured.

The glass is key to a good Martini. The best glass for Martinis is (you guessed it) a Martini glass. The purpose of the stem is to keep your hands away from the drink and consequently to keep the drink cold. Once you get hooked on Martinis, you will want to invest in some glasses. Chill your glasses in ice or in the freezer (preferred) for five to ten minutes or longer. Chilling glasses is good for all cocktails, but especially for Martinis.

Good vodka is, of course, the essential element. My current favorite is Teton Glacier® potato vodka, but feel free to substitute. Keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to shake. When your freezer vodka is on the bar, keep the lid on so that moisture from the air does not condense inside the bottle. For garnish, some people prefer olives in their Martinis (this is obviously the only way to go for a dirty Martini), others prefer a twist of lemon peel (twist it above the glass to release the oils before dropping it in). I go both ways, depending on mood. I like to serve this Martini with a twist and drop three dried Montmorency cherries into the glass. These tart cherries soaked in ice-cold vodka are delicious. Be sure to provide a toothpick so your guests don’t have to fish for cherries with their fingers.

Vodka Martini

2 oz Teton Glacier® potato vodka

1/2 teaspoon Noilly Prat® dry vermouth

Pour vodka into a shaker half full of cracked ice. Shake briskly 15-20 times to infuse the vodka with ice crystals. Let it rest while you fetch a glass from the freezer. Add the vermouth to the glass and swish it around to coat the glass. Feel free to pour out any excess vermouth if you like. Strain the Martini into the glass, add your selected garnish, and enjoy!

For a dirty Martini, add 1/2 oz olive brine to the shaker, but take my word for it: you’re better off not doing this.

For a lazy man’s martini, you can just pour the freezer vodka straight into the prepared glass without shaking and add garnish, but where’s the fun in that?

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