Welcome to Distilled, InsideHook’s new deep dive into the spirits world. Drink up.
Happy Martini Day.
In the hierarchy of made-up holidays, Martini Day ranks somewhat above National Thermal Engineering Day (July 24th) and strata above National Limerick Day (May 12th).
But a martini: now there’s a drink that deserves a holiday.
Or, at least, a greater appreciation.
So, herein: how to make a perfect martini.
In the interest of science, we flew to Åhus, Sweden, home to the Absolut distillery. There, we met up with Nick Strangeway, the wonderfully monikered bartender that Time Out magazine dubbed “London’s leading cocktail expert.”
“The martini is, oddly, the hardest drink for a bartender to make because of the customer,” says Strangeway. “You never get it ‘right.’ So it helps when the customer knows what they like.”
Because the ingredients are so few, the martini lives or dies on its spirit — it provides the structure and aromatic profile. Strangeway likes Absolut’s new-ish Elyx luxury line because of its high ABV and — don't laugh — creamy mouthfeel.
A few tips: stir with the bar spoon upside down (the spoon, not you). You’re stirring to chill the drink — shaking will do that, but also dilute your potable.
After experimenting in Absolut’s bartending lab, Strangeway worked out a variation that worked beautifully for us: adding 10 ml of kummel, a colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seed, cumin and fennel. He also replaced the lemon twist with the zest of an orange peel.
For you, it means this: “Go into a bar. Ask for a 10:1 Elyx/Kummel martini with an orange twist. That’s your drink.”
It was a good day.