How to Order a Martini
Let’s say you’ve brought a date to a cocktail bar.
It’s a bit of a fancier joint because you want to impress her, and lo and behold, it’s working so far. You want to give her the impression that you come here all the time so you ask her what she’s having before conveying her order to the bartender like he’s an old friend. And you’ll have a martini, too.
The bartender asks if you’d like your martini “dry or wet”.
You’re stunned. What does that mean?
The bartender attempts to clarify his query and asks whether you want more or less dry vermouth.
You don’t know what to say. You stammer and pick either option.
He asks if you would like it shaken or stirred and if you’d like it dirty.
You’re absolutely discombobulated.
He smiles and asks if this is your first martini.
You burst into tears and run from the bar.
The date is over.
Alright, so that was an extreme example and was definitely not based on any of our staffers’ personal, heart-breaking experiences. The reality is that unless you were taught the basics of martini ordering from the likes of your alcoholic friend, you wouldn’t have understood a word the bartender was saying and you wouldn’t know how exactly to order a martini.
To help you out, we’ve compiled some translations for the basic terms you’ll have to master on your journey to be able to order a martini like a pro.
Dry or Wet
Martinis are basically made out of dry vermouth mixed with gin or vodka, garnished with a few olives. A dry martini simply refers to a drink with less vermouth it, and a wet martini means that there’s a lot of vermouth in your drink.
Straight Up or On the Rocks
To serve a martini “straight” is to drink it in one of those tall, classy-looking glasses. “On the rocks” refers to pouring your martini into an old-fashioned glass with plenty of ice.
“Stirring” refers to a method of cocktail preparation, during which you mix the ingredients of a cocktail together with a stirrer. Most bartenders will claim that martinis are meant to be stirred, so as to prevent “bruising” of the gin and to give the cocktail a smooth, mellifluous texture.
“Shaking” refers to a method of cocktail preparation that involves filling a cocktail shaker with ice and liquid, then shaking it over your shoulder to get a thoroughly mixed drink. Shaken martinis are famously 007’s drink of choice, and as a result many a customer has requested that their martinis be “shaken, not stirred”, to many a bartender’s dismay.
This is for the olive lovers out there. If garnishing the cocktail with a few olives isn’t enough for you, try a ordering a dirty martini. This cocktail has olive juice added to it to lend the drink a strong briny taste.
With a twist
If you’re not into olives, try ordering your martini “with a twist” of lemon or orange instead.
A Gibson refers to using a style of martini that is garnished with a pickled onion instead of olives.
And that concludes our guide on how to order a martini. Now you can look like a cool customer when you’re rattling off your order for a vodka martini, straight up with a twist. Stirred, not shaken. (Hey, Bond’s an international man of mystery, not a mixologist. I’ll trust my bartender on this.)
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