Not everyone is a fan of gin’s heavy botanical flavors—and that’s fine. There’s no shame in loving a Vodka Martini, no matter what the haters might say. The original Gin Martini was invented sometime in the early 20th century, though where exactly it was created is still up for debate (some say at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, others claim it was the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City). But the Vodka Martini, which is sometimes called a “Kangaroo,” didn’t rise to popularity until the 1950s and ‘60s. Vodka was on the up and up in America. The Moscow Mule was sweeping the nation, Joan Crawford was drinking Bullshots and exclusively serving Smirnoff and Champagne at parties, and advertising campaigns were catching the eyes of the cocktail savvy. Then, in Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel Diamonds are Forever, James Bond was suddenly drinking his Martinis with vodka instead of gin. While we certainly agree with Bond that the Vodka Martini is an excellent cocktail, his request for it to be “shaken, not stirred” (which first appeared in Dr. No) is an amateur move. All spirits are relatively similar in density, which means it’s easy for their flavors to incorporate. When you shake an all-booze cocktail, it will likely disturb their natural texture, or “bruise” the ingredients. Stirring also dilutes a cocktail less than shaking, which is essential if you like your Martini extra stiff. While the lemon twist was the original garnish for the Vodka Martini, a briny olive is always appropriate if you’re in the mood for a savory touch.
Mix it Up
Recommended Vodkas: Absolut Elyx, Vodka 6100, Nikka Coffey Vodka, Zirkova, Reyka
Recommended Vermouths: Dolin Dry, Lo-Fi Dry, Salers Aperitif, Alessio Vermouth Bianco, Cinzano Extra Dry
Though the drink itself is the epitome of effortless cool, the Martini’s history is full of frenzy and dispute. Some say it’s a bastardized Martinez, a drink created at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco for a flush gold miner who demanded a drink be named in his honor. Others say it was immaculately conceived at New York’s Knickerbocker H...