Liquor: The Classic Gin Martini

My tastes tend to skew towards savory rather than sweet (how many dessert recipes have you seen here?) but lately that's been refined very specifically to acidic tastes: pickles, mustard, vinegars, and olives. Olives, olives, OLIVES!

Right now I think I have about six different jars sitting in my fridge because I'm obsessed with trying everything new and delicious and wonderful that I can get my hands on. The only ones I haven't liked so far are the bleu cheese stuffed ones, which was a terrible disappointment to my cheese loving soul. However, those ones sit in a juice that is thick and syrupy, almost slimy, and I don't know if it's because of the cheese or what, but it's gross, and you should keep it the hell away from me and my martini.

Martini! Yes, truly my FAVOURITE way to enjoy some olives. What's that? You already know how to make a classic martini? 

 Yes, I did just make that specifically for this purpose. I am Batman.

Usually you know I let you guys do whateverthehell you want, but on this I say no. Vodka martinis are great, and popular, and this and that and the other thing, but a traditional martini is made with gin and I will not hear another damn thing about it.

NOW, there is considerable debate as to whether a martini should be shaken or stirred. A traditional gin martini should be stirred, not shaken, as according to my research shaking can "bruise the gin".

I don't know about this. My gin has never complained.  But after all my caterwauling about traditional and "classic" this and that, I have to say I like my martinis absolutely ice cold and that just can't be accomplished by stirring.

ALSO it's how James Bond orders his martinis and if you can't take advice from James Bond then I guess we're all screwed. I read somewhere once a theory that James Bond was so sophisticated that he would have known that stirring is the more common way to serve a gin martini, but that in his wisdom of being a spy and in charge of poisons/guns/motor vehicles, he always limited himself to one martini, and had it shaken so that more of the ice would melt, thus diluting the drink a bit more. This logic makes complete sense to me and lines up pretty well with what we see in the movies. He also drank vodka martinis, which are ALWAYS served shaken, not stirred, so maybe the dude just got confused. Whatever.

Besides, how else do you expect him to close the deal with [insert Bond girl here] if he has more than one drink? 

It's unfortunate that I don't own proper martini glasses, as the stem is necessary to keep the drink cold as we discussed in Boozing on a Budget. It's also regrettable that I wound up with small ice slivers in this martini. What can I say, my strainer was in the dishwasher!

makes 1, preferably for James Bond


  • 2.5 ounces gin (We are led to believe in 1953s Casino Royale that Bond drinks Gordon's gin. I used my current experimental favourite, Plymouth, because I am not fancy enough to have two bottles of gin in my house at once.)
  • 0.5 ounces dry white vermouth (Martini & Rossi is the most common brand)
  • 1 or 3 olives, to garnish

The olives are obviously what started this whole post, but a classic martini can also be served with a twist of lemon peel instead. Why either one or three? Because two looks just weirdly symmetrical, and an even number of olives is supposed to be bad luck.


1. Combine the gin and vermouth in a cocktail shaker over lots of ice and shake for 30 seconds.

2. Strain (double strain with a second finer strainer to catch any ice shards that might be left) into a martini glass and serve with three olives.

If you want to try your hand at making a a proper classic gin martini, instead of shaking in the shaker simply stir gently until combined and proceed to step 2. By all means have at it, but if James Bond can break tradition and enjoy an ice cold martini then so can I.

If I am feeling extra debaucherous (possibly not a word) I like to make it a dirty martini by adding half an ounce of olive juice, right from the jar to the gin and vermouth before you shake. Enjoy, you dirty little birds!

Posted on April 1, 2014 .