Shaken, Not Stirred: Martinis for Every Occasion
Looking for a classic cocktail? Look no farther than a perfectly chilled, perfectly balanced Martini. From Cary Grant and Ernest Hemingway to Dorothy Parker and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, icons throughout history have been photographed, recorded, and written about with Martinis in hand.
With exactly two ingredients (gin or vodka and vermouth), this elegant but simple cocktail is a sure winner. And, with hundreds of possible variations in both garnishes and additional ingredients, there’s a perfect Martini out there for everyone.
While the original Martini was concocted with roughly four parts gin to one part Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth (hence the capitalized cocktail name), by the mid-twentieth century vodka variations were also common, including a version with dry rather than sweet vermouth (a dry Martini). Both spirits create an elegant and timeless cocktail, and it comes down to personal taste; gin leads to a more complex, botanical flavor, while vodka is a bit smoother. Search the web today and you’ll find variations with everything from tequila to Rosé wine.
The typical garnishes are a twist of lemon or olives, but really the sky is the limit here: fruits, pickled vegetables, chocolate? It’s up to you. Looking for a dirty Martini? Add a few spoonfuls of olive brine. Read on for some of our favorite recipes, and don’t be afraid to experiment on your own!
P.S. Unless you’re James Bond, there’s nothing wrong with a stirred Martini; the consistency is just slightly different than that of a shaken Martini. Both methods serve to cool down the cocktail, and stirred Martinis are actually much more common. Either way, we recommend serving your Martinis “up” (no ice) so that the flavor isn’t diluted.
- Grapefruit Gin Martini: This citrusy treat calls for gin, bitters, and grapefruit juice in place of vermouth. Garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit and you’re ready to go!
- Coconut Martini: Vanilla vodka, coconut rum, and a splash of pineapple juice? We can practically hear the waves on the beach already. Garnish with fresh pineapple.
- Caramel Snickerdoodle Martini: If the name doesn’t already have you hooked, the ingredients will: caramel vodka, cream, and a caramel cinnamon sugar rim. We would highly recommend topping with whipped cream or (and) a cinnamon stick.
- Woo Woo Martini: This is fun for several reasons: You get to say, “Woo woo!” every time you make one; it’s fruity and delicious; and it’s easy to make with vodka, peach Schnapps, cranberry juice and a lime wedge.
- Lemon Drop Martini: There are countless varieties (all delicious), but the key ingredients are vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, Cointreau or triple sec, and a sugared rim. Try handcrafted Tall Fello Limoncello for a fun twist.
- Chocolate Martini: Vodka, Five Farms Irish Cream, and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur… Need we say more? Drizzle with chocolate syrup or top with shaved chocolate for an extra indulgent treat.
- Pomegranate Martini: Mandy’s personal favorite! Mix 1.5oz lemon or citron vodka, .75 oz La Pinta Pomegranate Liqueur and juice from half a lemon, shake and serve with a lemon twist.
- Mexican Martini: Shake up some tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, orange juice, and olive brine. Garnish with a skewer of olives and enjoy!
Ready to make your own Martinis? Check out some of our staff’s favorite gins, vodkas, and garnishes below!
- Try RumHaven Caribbean Rum, it’s made with coconut liqueur, pure cane sugar and real coconut water.
- Make your Martinis like bartenders—with Stirrings Cosmopolitan and Lemon Drop Martini Rimmers.
- Give these two gins a try: Roku Gin, a Japanese craft botanical gin, and Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin.
- Noilly-Prat Extra Dry Vermouth became James Bond’s official vermouth when it made an appearance in Skyfall in 2015. As such, it has quickly garnered a reputation and is enjoying renewed fame. However, Noilly prat is actually one of the oldest active vermouth producers and has been operating since 1815.
- Absolut Citron actually inspired the creation of the popular Cosmopolitan.
- Reyka Icelandic Vodka is made with arctic spring water that runs through a 4,000-year-old lava field, making it some of the purest water in the world.
As always, New Castle Liquors’ staff members are here to help with recommendations for low-calorie drinks or whatever you need! New Castle Liquors is located just off I-70, exit 105, in beautiful New Castle, Colorado. 2018, 2019 and 2020 Locals’ Choice Award winner!