Yes, everything has its own designated day nowadays, but when International Martini Day (June 19) rolls around, it would be remiss of us to not whip up one of our favorite cocktails.
Reportedly dating back to the late 1800s, the martini is undoubtedly one of the most iconic serves and a menu staple in all of the world’s best bars. Purists will argue for hours about gin versus vodka (the former is the traditional choice and gives a more complex flavor, but the latter is undeniably smoother), but as with all the best cocktails, the martini has seen plenty of experimentation in its lifetime
There’s plenty of terminology to get your head around too: wet? Dry? Dirty? The questions might sound inappropriate, but don’t be offended. A dry martini has little to no vermouth; wet has lots. ‘Dirty’ means that it’s got olive brine in the mix giving it a more savory flavor.
Whether you’re keeping it simple or in the mood for some experimentation on International Martini Day, your favorite brands and bars have you covered. We’ve rounded up some of the best martini recipes to try at home, from the classic serve to the weird and wonderful.
The BrusKetta Martini by Eve Bar, London
Tucked away beneath Adam Handling’s one-Michelin-starred Frog restaurant in Covent Garden, Eve Bar is a sultry little spot that serves up some of London’s best cocktails with a side of undeniable mischief. This month has seen the launch of the bar’s brand-new menu, V, which aims to capture all five of our senses in every drink.
The BrusKetta Martini is one of the most unique of them all, sitting somewhere between a Bloody Mary and a classic martini. The recipe is a little more complex than your standard two-ingredient martini, but a great choice if you’re looking to impress at your next cocktail hour. You can even make ahead and just pour as and when needed.
– 1 1/3 oz toasted sourdough bread and olive oil vodka
– ½ oz ginepraio dry gin
– ½ oz la tomato liqueur
– 1/8 oz olive brine
– 6 drops of saline solution
– ½ oz filtered water
Toasted sourdough and olive oil vodka:
– 23½ oz sauvelle vodka
– 4½ oz extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
Slice and toast the bread until brown, before grinding to make breadcrumbs. Combine with the olive oil and vodka and allow to infuse for 12 hours. Freeze the bag overnight to separate the oil, before straining with a coffee filter.
Add all ingredients to a shaker and stir with ice. Pour into a large container/bottle and refrigerate before serving when needed.
The Classic Martini by Bemelmans Bar
If you’re in NYC and hankering for a martini, there’s only one option: Bemelmans Bar. Found within the ultra-luxe Carlyle Hotel, this historic bar has been serving up some of the best cocktails in the city to its discerning guests since the 1940s.
Head bartender Luis Serrano has been manning the bar for 33 years and counting, and under his watchful guidance, the Bemelmans Bar Martini retained its iconic status. The method is simple but incredibly precise, with every element carefully perfected to achieve the optimum result. Unlike many modern martini recipes, Serrano and his team keep it super dry, with just a minute amount of vermouth. It’s drinkers’ choice when it comes to gin or vodka though – your way is the best way.
– 5oz gin of choice (or vodka if preferred)
– One drop of vermouth
– Lemon or olives to garnish
Add the vodka/gin and vermouth to a shaker with ice and stir gently (so as not to release the botanical oils) until icy cold. Strain half into the martini glass and the other half into a sidecar placed in shaved ice. Garnish with a lemon twist (or olives).
The Classic Martini by The Connaught Bar
In London, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the perfect martini, but for one of the undisputed bests, head to The Connaught Bar, which was crowned the ‘World’s Best Bar’ in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021. Here, martinis are more like a way of life than a mere cocktail on a menu, with an iconic Martini Trolley making its rounds through the bar.
While the method for every martini is the same, with a hand-etched crystal glass chilled down using slow-frozen ice, the final recipe is down to you. Choose between gin or vodka, before selecting your chosen handmade bitter from the trolley’s extensive selection. Carefully mixed and then poured from a high height and spritzed with lemon on its way to your glass, this is up there with one of the best martinis in the world.
– 2½ oz gin or vodka
– ½ oz dry vermouth
– 3 dashes of bitters (Connaught lavender, cardamom, ginger, bergamot or tonka signature aromatic bitters)
Add the dash of bitters to your frozen Martini glass. Stir vodka/gin and vermouth in a mixing tin or glass with ice chunks and serve straight up in your Martini glass. Garnish with olive or lemon.
Belvedere Espresso Martini by the Belvedere Terrace at The Shelbourne
If the cocktail world has had one stand-out hero in the past few years, it is without a doubt the espresso martini (the Aperol Spritz takes a close second). Sweet, energy-boosting and catastrophically boozy, no bar menu is complete without it.
One of our favorite recipes comes from The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, which has launched a new Belvedere Terrace, complete with a martini trolley, just in time for summer. Drinks are made-to-order tableside, with the fan-favorite espresso martini given a unique kick via a hint of cinnamon.
– 1 oz Belvedere Vodka
– 1 oz of coffee liquor
– 1½ oz cinnamon syrup infused cold brew coffee
– 2 dashes of orange bitters
– Honeycomb to garnish
Place all ingredients except cinnamon syrup-infused cold brew coffee into a stirring glass and stir. Strain into a cognac glass over crushed ice. Shake the cinnamon syrup-infused cold brew coffee and double strain over the crushed ice. Garnish with a honeycomb piece.
The Tarquini by Tarquin’s Gin
Whether you favor gin or vodka in your martini, selecting the right spirit is integral to creating the perfect flavor. Pick a poor quality gin, for example, and your drink will end up bitter in all the wrong ways. The complex palette of Tarquin’s Gin, however, is the perfect choice for an at-home martini. Distilled in Cornwall, England, this zesty little gin is lively with pine and lemon zest, with a bouquet of botanicals that lend themselves perfectly to a sweeter vermouth. The brand’s signature Tarquini is notably sweeter than your classic serve, with a rose vermouth and a dash of orange blossom bitters. A perfect summer tipple.
– 1½ oz Tarquin’s Cornish Gin
– 1/3 oz Lillet rose vermouth
– 2 dashes orange blossom bitters
– Grapefruit twist
Add all wet ingredients to an iced mixing glass and stir down for 20 seconds before straining into a well-chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Hangar 1 Straight Martini
When choosing a vodka to make the perfect martini, the key is selecting one that you could happily sip (sip, not shot) neat in order to avoid that nasty burn at the back of the throat. Produced in small quantities in an old air hangar in California, Hangar 1 uses a careful combination of midwestern grains and Californian grapes to create a straight vodka that is as smooth as they come, with fresh floral notes. A twist of lemon really brings this vodka to life in a martini.
– 2½ oz Hangar 1 Straight Vodka– ½ oz dry white vermouth – Lemon twist