When it comes to Martinis, you either love ‘em or you don’t. I have never come across someone who says, “Eh, I sort of like martinis.” Although they may not be for everyone, Martinis have a special place in my heart. Once I learned that those cloying drinks called “martinis” (looking at you Apple-tini & Choco-tini) were imposters, I had to try the real deal!
I went to a bar one day, sat down, and ordered one. When I ordered a dirty martini, I like how it rolled off the tongue casually, as if I had been ordering one for years, even though I was 22. I felt so grown up (and to be fair, I was… considering a lot of girls my age were still swigging bright blue colored booze!). Much to my chagrin, it was not love at first sip. It just about knocked me off my barstool! Martinis are potent tipples that are meant for sipping and savoring rather then knocking back at your company holiday party. With each passing sip however, I started noticing all the subtle flavors from the gin perfectly married with the vermouth. I was hooked!
There are quit a few variations on Martinis — vodka vs. gin, vermouth or no vermouth, olive juice or onion… it’s all a matter of preference. I prefer my Martinis with gin personally. The layered flavors add a lot of complexity to the otherwise simple cocktail. Simple does not equal boring here, my friends, au contraire! Because of it’s simplicity, making a martini with high-quality ingredients is one of the most important factors. There are no juices or syrups to mask the flavor so grab yourself a bottle of great gin and vermouth to mix up one of these tipples.
As far as olive or no olive, I don’t know about you, but I like mine dirty if you know what I mean… with olive juice of course (ha!). In this case, I used Castelvetrano olives. The salty olive brine lends the drink a lovely savory component that works well with the earthy spices and herbs of gin.
My little twist on the classic cocktail is the smoked rosemary olive oil. It may sound peculiar to dash in some oil to a cocktail, but trust me it works here! Oil and water may not mix, but alcohol and oil sure do! It enhances the olive flavor and adds a great texture to the drink. Don’t add too much, just a few drops, or you will have an oil slick floating at the top of your drink.
- 2 1/2 oz dry gin
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- 1 bar spoon olive juice, I used some from a jar of Castelvetrano olives
- few drops smoked rosemary olive oil (recipe below)
- rosemary sprig and olive, garnish
Make the smoked rosemary oil a day or so in advance. Add ice to the drinking glass you will be using to chill it. In a mixer glass, add the gin, vermouth, and olive juice to a mixing glass. Add ice to fill the glass 3/4 of the way. Using a bar spoon, mix for 30 seconds. Dump the ice from the drinking glass. With a hawthorn strainer, strain the martini into the chilled glass. Finish with a few drops of the infused oil. Garnish with rosemary sprig and olive.
Smoked Rosemary Oil
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 stalks rosemary
Place a glass jar on it’s side. Place the rosemary stalks into the jar. Using a lighter, light the rosemary stalks. continuing doing this a few times up and down the stalks. Quickly turn the jar right side up and add the olive oil. Let the rosemary infuse for a couple days. Discard the rosemary and your olive oil is ready to use.
Recipe, styling, and photography by Craft + Cocktails for Jojotastic.
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