[Eds: Welcome to Jim, Eva’s husband, who is the world expert in the dry martini!]

Who better to blog about a dry martini than me? Well, I guess you have to know me first. Quickly then (background), I was talking to a colleague recently when I mention that I was really enjoying gin these days [Eva: “these days”???].  His response was “Oh yeah, so what do you drink it with?”

Obviously, I said “ICE”. Okay, it’s true that “gin and ice” certainly does not make it a classic martini, but it does make it dry. For the purist, of course, this is criminal. In my defence, warm gin is criminal. When the classic dry martini is made to conventional standards it is “shaken not stirred” (like I could leave that quote out) The first two sips are the best. Consequently, unless you’re chugging a “shaken” martini, the gin warms and losses any palatability.

So, for me, add light rocks to a cocktail glass and pour. Did I mention (of course) that your bottle of Bombay Sapphire is kept in the freezer? Whatever you do, don’t start with warm gin. BTW, the “shaken” part is only to chill the gin in the first place, which waters down the gin. This equates to adding ice to a cocktail glass………. hmmmm maybe I have it right after all?

So, on to the recipe: the classic dry martin is made very simply.  It has 3 ingredients: gin (yea!!!, my favourite clear distilled grain alcohol, made with various botanicals, predominately juniper), vermouth (dry white) and an olive – PERIOD.

The key to a dry martini is getting the proportions correct. So go to the web, the cocktail guide you got for Christmas or the bartender at the Roxy [Eds.: a random bar in Vancouver], and you’ll get numerous different measures.

I came across one recipe that said 4 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. Really? The best one was 3 ounces gin to ½ ounce vermouth. Seriously? Okay, I had to look further and thankfully found this:

Dry Martini – Traditionally uses more dry vermouth, however recent trends define a Dry Martini as using little or no vermouth.

NICE.  This martini is also named “Bone Dry” or “Desert Martini” meaning no vermouth. Go figure. With the help of the interweb I realize I’m trendy and can do away with my vermouth spray and getting my beautiful wife Eva to whisper “vermouth” over my glass (just so I don’t feel like a drunk). Still, I have to work on making sure I always have an olive. And please, just an olive, nothing infused with fancy this or that and for goodness sake NO FRUIT.

The greatest martini I’ve ever had was made by my brother Mark, on a sunny evening at the Farm [Eva: the Ross Family Farm in Ontario: 100 acres of rolling pasture]. The Farm is the idyllic rustic setting: the BBQ warming up and the family kicking back (and lying about their golf scores), sipping “bone dry” martinis. This is a classic, unforgettable experience. Well, okay, after the third martini, recollection becomes faint. But trust me: the martini is awesome (see you tomorrow)!

Now, while I sit here blogging, I am sipping on my scotch. I’m drinking scotch because it’s far too late for a martini. A dry martini is absolutely best enjoyed as a cocktail prior to any and all fine dining experiences. The properties of gin, and more predominately the wonderful juniper berry, enhances the taste buds and stimulates your appetite. As we all know, hunger makes good sauce!

So give it a try! Your choice of London dry gin, from the freezer over 2 or 3 cubes of ice and an olive (amen)! What the heck, still have your better half whisper “vermouth”, just for fun.

~ Jim

[Eds: p.s. sorry about the crappy picture. Phone camera. Hoping to buy a new camera this weekend but this is the ongoing drama, non?]

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