A Classic Comeback Story: The Return of the Martini

12/6/2019

the return of the martini

 

During the cocktail renaissance our industry has enjoyed in recent years, there has been one drink seemingly left behind.


“The martini has been completely overlooked,” said Mike Henderson, Breakthru Beverage Development Manager. “And while some of the classics have remained popular, like the old fashioned, staples like the martini have not enjoyed the same run.”


One of the main reasons martini glasses everywhere have been collecting dust, Henderson noted, is because making a really good martini takes time and effort. While it’s a cocktail with few ingredients, crafting a quality martini takes a lot of stirring or shaking.


“A perfectly made martini needs to be bracingly cold,” Henderson said. “And that takes a lot of stirring, more than people know. Also, many people have had unpleasant experiences with vodka martinis that are dominated in flavor by a second-rate vermouth or an excess amount of olive brine.”


So, why the hot take on a seemingly cold trend? Henderson cited the health movement, which has brought to life massive moneymakers like hard seltzer, as one of the main reasons.


“The low calorie, healthful choice is booming,” Henderson said. “And because of that, there is a huge demand for vodka, and vodka cocktails, and the martini fits the bill. It’s a cocktail without any added sugars or extra high-calorie liqueurs.”


“A good vodka martini really doesn’t need much more than just a good vodka.”

According to IRI Data, vodka currently occupies the top spot on the spirits charts for both volume and dollar share, so Henderson is on the money when it comes to a big opportunity for vodka martinis. And a good vodka martini really doesn’t need much more than just a good vodka.


“I don’t think vodka stands up that well to vermouth, definitely not as well as gin,” Henderson said.


That’s why he leaves it out completely from his vodka martinis. If you’ve got yourself a premium vodka, all you need for a high-quality martini is a few good shakes with ice and maybe a little olive brine if someone orders it dirty.


Another reason for martini’s return to glory, Henderson mentioned, is because there has been a distinct uptick in the quality of available glassware. Historically, martinis have been served in the mammoth 10 oz. glasses, which can be cumbersome to manage for not only the bartender, but the guest. It’s hard to fill that big glass, too, because the martini is a small volume cocktail, so the excess space isn’t necessary or visually appealing—especially when there is still room in the glass after it’s been poured.


“Smaller glasses make the cocktail look fantastic,” Henderson said. “Nick and Nora glasses work much better than the classic 10 oz. ones because the glass will actually be full.”


Martini recipes are quite simple, but the simplicity of it is very satisfying when done well. Henderson has provided three of his favorite go-to recipes that will please any patron asking for this classic cocktail.


Dry Gin Martini


2.5 oz. London dry gin
.5 oz. dry vermouth


Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir for about 30-45 seconds. Strain into a chilled 5-6 oz. martini or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive, lemon twist, or both.


Vodka Martini


3 oz. premium vodka


Method: Pour vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled 5-6 oz. martini or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive, lemon twist, or both.


The Fifty-Fifty Martini


1.5 oz. premium gin
1.5 oz. dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters


Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir for about 30-45 seconds. Strain into a chilled 5-6 oz. martini or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Read Next Article See all Group news

email delivery truck icon

Get news delivered directly to your inbox.

Join our email marketing program for weekly updates on the latest industry trends, product innovations and news.


Subscribe