Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
3 New Ways to Make a Martini

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There is no cocktail more sophisticated or effortlessly cool than a Martini. With its simple construction and minimalist appearance, it’s impervious to time and trends. It’s also ripe for renovation. By tweaking the ratio of spirit to vermouth, changing up the style of vermouth, or even swapping out the usual gin or vodka, there are an infinite number of ways in which you can give the classic cocktail a makeover without changing the fundamentals of what makes a Martini a Martini.

Bartenders across the country continue to be fascinated and inspired by the old school stalwart. Here, three of our favorite bartender-made variations, from a pre-batched, frozen cocktail that comes with a buffet of garnishes , to a briny, savory cocktail spiked with Irish whiskey and aquavit, to a smoky take on a Dirty Martini.

“Crafting a meaningful new take on a classic is not a task I took lightly,” says Will Elliott, bar director of Brooklyn’s Sauvage. He certainly lived up to the challenge. There are two ingredients in this Martini that make it unlike any other that you have tasted: pot still-distilled Xoriguer Gin De Mahon—a wild, juniper-focused gin from a tiny Mediterranean island—and Luli Moscato Chinato, a beautifully elegant, layered vermouth made by retired chemist and famed fragrance maker Mauro Vergano. At Sauvage, the drink is pre-batched, bottled and frozen, creating an icy, viscous elixir that is intoxicating upon first sip. As for the garnish, Sauvage goes way beyond the basic olive. Instead, it’s served with a garnish sidecar complete with edible flowers, caper berries, juniper and lemon twists for a fully customizable cocktail.

The Essentials

Gin De Mahon
Luli Moscato Chinato
orange bitters
Finally, a Martini for whiskey drinkers. Created by Jillian Vose, the bar manager at the famed Dead Rabbit in New York, this earthy take on a Dirty Martini swaps out gin and vodka for Powers John’s Lane Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, a limited release that lends the cocktail a rich, creamy roundness while retaining its high proof heat. To mimic the savory element of olive brine, Vose combines celery bitters and caraway-heavy aquavit. The result is an ultra-food-friendly cocktail perfect for cold weather sipping. It’s delicious paired with game birds, a hefty pork chop or any traditional Irish fare.

The Essentials

Irish Whiskey
Aquavit
1 dash celery bitters
Created by Bryan Hamman, the former bar manager at The Progress in San Francisco, this smoky take on a Dirty Martini is a salt-head’s dream come true. At The Progress, bartenders use a wooden smoker box to infuse meaty Castelvetrano olives and their brine with mesquite flavors and aromatics. This smoky mix forms the backbone of the Martini. Bartenders stir the barbecue-esque brine with vodka or gin (we prefer an ultra-clean, triple-distilled vodka) and garnish the cocktail with a smoked olive and a few drops of housemade rosemary oil from The Progress’ sister restaurant, State Bird Provisions. If you don’t have a smoker box of your own at home, you can use a small cast-iron pan and a grill to infuse the olives.

The Essentials

Gin
Smoked Olive
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

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