Hot on the heels of World Gin Day last week, it’s World Martini Day this weekend (Saturday 19 June)! Always held on the third Saturday in June, World Martini Day is designed as a celebration for everyone, from gin drinkers to hospitality venues and distillers, to celebrate this iconic cocktail.
This year, the organisers are encouraging people to get out to their local bars – many of which have now been able to reopen following challenging pandemic restrictions – for a celebratory Martini, while some venues will also be running special offers for the day.
To get you ready for the event, we’re going to introduce you to the classic Martini – as well as a few variations that should definitely be in your cocktail repertoire. Don’t forget to share pics of your Martinis on the day with the hashtag #WorldMartiniDay on social media.
Whether wet or dry, shaken or stirred, the Martini is beloved around the world and, due to its simplicity, is a great way to show off the flavours of a gin. In its simplest form, the Gin Martini is a combination of gin (preferably a dry one) and dry/white vermouth, although many recipes call for a splash of orange bitters too. Simply combine in a shaker with ice, stir or shake until completely chilled, and serve with the garnish of your choice (lemon or olives are popular choices). To make it a Dirty Martini, add a dash of olive brine to the shaker before mixing.
This little number is a cousin of both the Manhattan (typically a whisk(e)y cocktail) and the Martini. Combine dry gin (spice-forward ones work well) with sweet/red vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and a few drops of Angostura or orange bitters in a shaker with ice, shake or stir to your preference until chilled, then serve. An orange peel twist works well as a garnish.
Arguably the best of both worlds for fans of vermouth cocktails, the Perfect Martini combines dry gin with both dry and sweet vermouths. Due to the combination of vermouths, you’re spoilt for choice with garnishes – lemon, orange or olives would work.
In principle, this is the same as your standard Martini, made with dry gin and dry vermouth – the only difference is the garnish, which must be a cocktail onion. For the spirit, a slightly savoury or citrusy gin would work nicely. To make this one ‘dirty’, simply add a dash of the pickling liquor from your onions.
Designed by 80s mixologist Dick Bradsell, this eponymous cocktail is traditionally made with vodka – but it works excellently with other spirits, too. Simply swap the vodka for a dry gin (one with nutty, spicy or chocolate hints would work well), combine with coffee liqueur and fresh espresso coffee in a shaker with ice, shake well and serve.
Created by legendary bartender Salvatore Calabrese at The Lanesborough Hotel in London, this drink is inspired by a classic British breakfast of toast and marmalade (although its name doesn’t have to dictate the time of day you drink it!). It features gin (an Old Tom or one with orange citrus elements would be ideal), Triple Sec (an orange-based liqueur), lemon juice and orange marmalade (the thin-cut stuff works best). Shake together with ice to incorporate the marmalade and serve.
For an extra twist…
It may have a bit of a frivolous name, but this is a seriously good drink! It was created by the iconic Ada Coleman, the first female head bartender at The American Bar at The Savoy, London. It stays true to the classic Martini base, combining dry gin and dry vermouth, but adds a dash of Fernet Branca, an Italian amaro, for a herbal bitters zing.
Created in the late 19th century, this cocktail is not for the faint hearted! The recipe calls for a sweeter gin (such as an Old Tom), dry vermouth, lemon peel and – here’s the fun part – a dash of Absinthe. Simply stir in a mixing glass with ice, strain and serve. NB: This recipe is technically a Tuxedo No. 1; to make it a Tuxedo No. 2, add a few dashes each of Maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.