How To Make A Budget Martini With A Twist

January 28, 2018

Lemon twist. Photo by Max Delsid on Unsplash

I admit I've become a bit of a snob when it comes to martinis, gins, shaken vs. stirred, even the glasses we sip them in as evidenced by starting Tini Grails! But sticking to top shelf gins all the time (or vodkas) is not necessarily good for one's budget. Nor are top shelf gins (or vodkas) necessary for a great martini experience. I want to share with you my go-to budget martini.

What do you think of when I say "Gordon's Gin"?

You may instinctively think "bottom shelf," right? That's because you typically see a bottle of Gordon's on the bottom shelf. But I am here to tell you Gordon's is the best kept secret in the spirits world.

I'm not saying it's got the complexity or "mmm-factor" of a Plymouth Gin (my favorite), but at the price it certainly does not have any "ick-factor" either. Particularly if prepared a certain way. We'll get to that.

You can find a 1.75L of Gordon's at Total Wine for $16.99. Let me spell that out for you. Sixteen dollars and ninety-nine cents. That's a lot of gin and will last you for weeks and weeks, martinis and martinis.

The preparation twist.

Now, as I said, Gordon's ain't no Plymouth, but it's a solid London dry gin. So here's what I do to further increase the value of a Gordon's martini.

I typically like my martini quite dry - two shots of gin and just a half a bottle cap of vermouth - and served with an olive. I also typically stir my martini so it's not overtaken with ice crystals. But with a Gordon's martini I change things up a little to maximize the experience.

For a Budget Gordon's martini I'll do two shots of gin, two caps of vermouth, a lemon twist and I will shake the hell out of it. Here's why.

The added vermouth increases the complexity of the flavor without going overboard - nothing worse than too much vermouth, so experiment a little to find the right balance for you.

The lemon twist is also about adding complexity and a little citrus bite to the front-end of each sip. What I do is cut lemon peel strips about a centimeter thick and maybe two inches long. Before pouring into the glass I'll ring the top of the glass with the underside of the lemon strip. Then pour your martini and do some serious twisting, up and down those two inches of peel. Really squeeze those citrusy oils into your drink. You'll see the oils floating on top. Then drop the peel into your drink so it can continue its influence.

Why do I shake the hell out of it? With a top shelf gin I don't want the melted ice to dumb down the gin too much, so I'll stir it vigorously for a minute. But with our Budget Gordon's Martini I shake it so that the ice crystals will dilute any trace of harshness coming from the gin. Plus it's just fun to shake the hell out it.

What you'll end up with is a martini that scores a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10. Not bad for a martini costing you less than half the price of a top-shelf martini.

Add a Tini Grail to this concoction and it might even score an even 8.0.  

Try it, experiment with it, see what works for you. Because a great pour doesn't need to put you in the poor house.

Keep on grailin'!

Will Burns, Owner Tini Grails




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