Stirred, Not Shaken

The Edison was one of the most innovative, historic, art-deco lounges I’d been to in Los Angeles during 2009. I remember walking with some friends down an alley and into a large, renovated power plant with hundreds, maybe thousands, of dimly lit light bulbs. On every major wall in the lounge was footage from the early 1900’s, which I’m pretty sure were mostly filmed by Thomas A. Edison. I sat, with my friends and my martini, and watched the old films until the early morning. I didn’t know then that my purist-self would become a martini snob. I’ve never been much of a gin drinker otherwise, well, with the exception of a good Bramble every now and again. Anyhow, I feel that a true martini is made with gin, not vodka. Also, there is no such thing as an apple, peach, or any other fruity-mix martini . Lastly, thine martini shall be stirred, not shaken (so that the gin is blended, not bruised). Is it still fair for me to say that, most importantly, it’s about personal preference?

I often wondered why it seemed to be a difficult cocktail for bartenders to mix, I mean, it’s only 3 ingredients, right? Oh, the deception. Since beginning to mix my own martinis at home, I’ve leaned that the proportions have to be handled with care, or the cocktail will end up tasting awful.

I recently spent a week in Boston and enjoyed an evening at Beehive for dinner, live jazz, and the best perfect martinis I’ve ever had. Technically a “Perfect Martini” is made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, and after Sabrina mixed mine, I was in nightlife bliss. My go to gin is Beefeater, but there are two others that I like just as much. Check them out below.



The botanicals, including Seville orange and lemon peel, are steeped in the spirit for 24 hours before distillation, which gives this gin an immediate flavor that can stand up to rapid chilling.


Charles Tanqueray’s original 1835 recipe inspired this limited edition Old Tom Gin. Its round, slightly sweet flavor tastes just as good today. $32.


Easing up on the juniper gives this spirit from Portland, Oregon, a more mellow mouthfeel. $35.

Here’s my step by step recipe for mixing a Perfect Martini:

1.) Use distilled, filtered, or spring water for ice cubes.

2.) Place your cocktail glass and shaker/mixing glass in the freezer one hour before you plan to start mixing your drinks. Freezing your glasses ensures that your martini stays at the right temperature. Make sure to chill your gin and vermouth also.

3.) When cocktail hour arrives, grab your shaker/mixing glass from the freezer and add ice.

4.) Use you jigger to measure the ingredients to your preferred ratio and pour them into the shaker/mixing glass. I prefer 2 oz. of gin, 1/2 oz. dry vermouth, 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth.

4.) Stir for 45 seconds (or shake for 30 seconds).

5.) Strain your martini into your chilled glass.

6.) Add your garnish. I recommend 3 olives or 2 blue cheese stuffed olives.

8.) Hold your glass by the stem so your hand doesn’t warm the martini.

7.) Indulge in good company.

Everyone has their opinions and preference on how to mix a martini. My advice is figure out what you like and drink merrily.

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