Making The Best Martini

“Shaken, not stirred,” insists James Bond whenever he orders his favorite drink—a dry martini. But Donish Baher, bartender-manager at the Martini Grill in Wood-Ridge, says the fictional British spy is all wet.
Martinicrop

+Classic Martini

 >>2 ounces gin or vodkha
 >>1 ounce dry vermouth
 >>lemon twist or olive
To serve: Add gin or vodka and vermouth to a glass filled with ice.
Stir to blend. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with twist or olive.

“Shaken, not stirred,” insists James Bond whenever he orders his favorite drink—a dry martini. But Donish Baher, bartender-manager at the Martini Grill in Wood-Ridge, says the fictional British spy is all wet. “A martini should be stirred,” she declares. “If you shake it, the ice melts into the alcohol and dilutes it too much.”

Baher has reason to know—last year, Bergen Health & Life readers voted the Martini Grill’s martini as one of the county’s top three. She reports that the cool cocktail we associate with the Mad Men generation and the “three-martini lunch” remains a favorite of discriminating drinkers.

In fact, popular demand has spawned fancy new drinks like the chocolate martini (with chocolate liqueur and creme de cacao), the key lime pie martini (with triple sec orange liqueur, pineapple juice, lime cordial and vanilla vodka) and the appletini (with the juice, cider, liqueur or brandy of the apple), but purists insist these are not true martinis. And while this classic cocktail hasn’t changed much, workplace mores have: Quaff three of these babies at lunch, and you may as well not go back to the office. —TIMOTHY KELLEY


Know Your Martinis

Tongue-tied at the bar? Heed this handy glossary:

CLASSIC MARTINI: This is the famous drink savored by the Rat Pack and other exemplars of the mid-20th century “good life.” (See the recipe above.)
‘DRY’ MARTINI: Historically, this cocktail has been light on the vermouth. These days, says Donish Baher, bartender-manager at the Martini Grill in Wood-Ridge, it contains no vermouth at all.
‘PERFECT’ OR ‘FIFTY-FIFTY’ MARTINI: “This one has equal amounts of dry and sweet vermouth,” says Baher, explaining that the latter’s dark hue gives the cocktail a slightly brownish color. “Old-timers know about it, but now I only get a request for one every couple of months.”
‘DIRTY’ MARTINI: This has a splash of olive brine or juice.
BRADFORD: Here’s a name for James Bond’s martini— one that is shaken, not stirred. It tends to be a bit cloudy.

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