“The martini is the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”
-H. L. Mencken
I’m a gin martini gal. The gin martini has been my go-to cocktail since one memorable ladies night that involved at least five varieties of the drink and an entire wheel of baked brie. I REGRET NOTHING! Since then, I’ve enjoyed honing my martini game by trying different combinations of gin and vermouth.
The current trend seems to be towards an extremely dry martini, where the vermouth is lucky to inhabit the same room as the gin, never mind the same glass. Personally, I don’t see the point. Gin in a martini glass does not a martini make. The whole point of a cocktail is the melding of parts into one, glorious whole. #JusticeforVermouth
But hey, if that is the way you like your martinis, don’t let me tell you otherwise. The martini is a deeply personal drink, even more so because it is so deceptively simple. You can have whatever proportions of gin to vermouth you like but one thing is for certain: technique is key!
The particular specimen I am going to introduce you to today has roots in rural Vermont and makes me want to curl up in front of a log cabin fireplace. As the basis for this martini I used Barr Hill Gin from Caledonia Spirits. I had the opportunity to tour Caledonia Spirits in 2012 as part of my politics of food class. I doubt I’d recognize it now since they’ve been growing pretty much constantly since then. What makes Barr Hill Gin distinctive is the use of raw honey in addition to the botanicals in the distilling process. It is freaking delicious. I decided to pair the gin with a dry vermouth. I found that this allowed the flavor of the gin to come through more than when using a sweet vermouth. To finish, garnish with a sage leaf. The aroma and the oils will add a herbaceous element to contrast with the botanicals and honey notes in the gin.
Finally, I want to give a huge shoutout to my friend Alaina who did the photography for this recipe. She did such a fantastic job that it was pure torture narrowing down the photos for this post.
This herbaceous Vermont martini pairs botanical and honey notes with a dry vermouth.
- 2 ounces Barr Hill Gin
- 3/4 ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 1 Fresh sage leaf
- 1 handful ice
Place a martini glass into the freezer to chill. You're spending a lot of effort to get a cold martini, so don't put it in a warm glass!
Place a handful of ice into a cocktail shaker or pint glass and add the gin and vermouth.
Stir for 30 seconds and then strain into the chilled martini glass. Don't shake the martini. Shaking will break up the ice and will water down the drink too much.
Garnish with a fresh sage leaf and enjoy responsibly.