I was reading a great, but sad, article in GQ last week about the end of a New York City icon: The Four Seasons on Park Avenue (Seagrams Building). It's written by Anna Hezel and is entitled, "How To Make The Four Seasons Gin Martini." Well worth the read for no other reason than the description of the old place. But as the title implies the article also spills the beans (but not the gin) on how the Four Seasons makes its own "Gin Martini."
A great martini is the absence of negatives.
Anyone who enjoys a martini made with gin or vodka knows that vermouth, while necessary, can just as easily destroy the experience as make it.
Vermouth, one might say, is like good service. The second you notice it, something's wrong. Vermouth should be there, but not SO there that it overpowers the gin (or vodka). The Four Seasons "Gin Martini" directions below provide a nice way to make sure the vermouth is in line.
Same with the temperature. A martini can't be too cold. Literally, it can't because gin (or vodka) won't freeze, but also as a goal in life, we should do everything we can to increase the odds of a cold martini. Again, The Four Seasons has a nice way to increase those odds.
As you'll see, the Four Seasons method is about keeping these two potential negatives from ruining your martini experience.
The Four Seasons Gin Martini.
Here's how GQ explains it:
Dry gin, like Beefeater or Boodles
3 green olives or cocktail onions
A pint glass
A martini glass
A cocktail stirring spoon
Pour a little bit of dry vermouth into a pint glass, and swirl the glass to coat the entire inside. Pour the vermouth out, and add your gin to the pint glass. Everything is measured by eye at the Four Seasons, but the martini works out to be slightly more than a double pour.
Next, add a scoop of ice to the pint glass and a scoop of ice to your empty martini glass. If you want to look like a real professional, you can chill your glass and mix your cocktail at the same time. For about 10-15 seconds, stir the liquor and ice rapidly together, while swirling the martini glass of ice in your other hand.
Dump the ice out of the martini glass, and strain the martini into it. Add three cocktail onions or olives, and get ready to make some deals.
So there you have it from the highest of brows, The Four Seasons.
A slightly less messy way to deal with the vermouth is my method: pour it into the bottle cap first (half full) and then pour that into the shaker. But I do like the Four Season's method as well.
As for temperature, I like to put the glass into the freezer as I'm preparing the sweet nectar. That's usually enough time for the glass to chill nicely.
But leave it to the ever-classy Four Seasons to have the "Gin Martini" down to such a perfect science.
Whatever your method, make sure the martini glass is amazing or all bets are off. Click here for more on that!
Keep on Grailin'!
- Will Burns, Owner