I had the pleasure of meeting UK bartender, Gareth Evans who was in SA recently to promote a vodka brand that he is currently working with.
We chatted about the classification of vodka (it turns out that each country has different regulations and rules and that many high level vodka brands hide behind a mask of marketing speak like “Super premium” , “Distilled 5 times” etc when in reality they are not. It all seems a bit tedious so I cut right to the chase and asked Gareth what the secrets are to the perfect vodka martini.
And here they are…
Your ice needs to be extremely cold (that might seem obvious) but when we say cold – we’re referring to that point where ice is almost ‘dry’ to the touch. Not only does it give the finished drink that chilled crispness, it also affects the dilution aspect of the drink. Large, clear ice blocks are what you’re after. The clearer the ice, the better because it contains less oxygen (oxygen sticks to the impurities) which makes it melt quicker – affecting the dilution.
2. A decent spirit
This also may be obvious but when you dilute the spirit – you unlock a variety of different, very subtle flavours and if you have a terribly nasty, cheap spirit, then you won’t pick these up (or they’ll just be plain awful) and will make the drink taste terrible.
3. Fresh vermouth
Vermouth is essentially a wine that’s been fortified and this might lead people to believe that the older the vermouth gets, the better it is to use but this isn’t the case. The longer the vermouth is exposed to oxygen – the more chance of oxidation occurring, which affect the volatile aromatic compounds that pretty much form the cornerstone of vermouth. So using fresh is definitely best. It also goes without saying that getting your hands on a quality bottle will enhance the first (and final) sip your martini.
Gareth was even kind enough to make me a vodka martini for me. Watch how he did it below…