Martini: masterclass and best ever recipes

We love a good cocktail, and in honour of National Martini Day (June 19), we've put together a collection of the best martini recipes on our website. Try the vanilla martini, a gingerbread and espresso cocktail, or a bacon and egg martini - we promise you won't be disappointed. Plus: learn all about Martini from Ian Goodman, bar manager at the iconic OXO Tower bar.

chocolate martini

Dark chocolate is the star of this boozy cocktail recipe, made with just three ingredients plus ice.


Bitter orange and cardamom martinis

Martinis are one of our favourite mixed alcoholic drinks. We’ve added marmalade and lemon juice to this cocktail recipe for for an extra kick of flavour. Enjoy!

Elderflower and lemon vodka martinis

Decorate this light and airy cocktail with white elderflowers if you have an elder bush near you. This recipe serves one, but can easily be multiplied if you’ve got friends coming over.

Gingerbread and espresso martini cocktail

This velvety smooth, gingerbread cocktail is the perfect warmer for chilly days – or as a cheeky, alcoholic alternative to pudding. Sit back and let the bartender do the work at Brighton’s award-winning Pintxo People (pintxopeople.co.uk), and Pinchito Tapas in east London (pinchito.co.uk), or mix one up in a matter of minutes at home.

bacon and egg martini

This cocktail recipe from LCC Shoreditch uses fat-washed (bacon-infused) Jack Daniel’s, first done in New York in the 90s for a Benton’s Old Fashioned. Mix that with maple syrup and you’ve got breakfast in a glass.

vanilla martini

It’s easy to create your own cocktails for entertaining at home. Keep it simple with a vodka martini – this one gets an extra kick from Grand Marnier and is flavoured with vanilla.

Ian Goodman talks martinis

Essentially, the martini is a mix of London dry gin or vodka and French dry vermouth, stirred over ice, strained and poured into an ice-cold cocktail glass. Lemon zest or a good quality green olive is the usual garnish.

Its invention is not attributed to any one person. Although one widely regarded idea is that the martini evolved from a martinez cocktail that was popular in the late 19th century, which used a sweetened-style gin as its base. This was included in The Bartender’s Guide by ‘Professor’ Jerry Thomas, published in 1887.

There are several variations of the classic martini, and also many modern variations. Ask for a dry martini and expect a drink with very little vermouth – conventionally in a 10:1 ratio or less with the gin. ‘Dirty’ will come with a little olive brine stirred into the gin and vermouth, while a Gibson is made with a silverskin onion and Plymouth gin.

London dry gin is the classic gin used for a martini, but one of my favourites is Plymouth or Sipsmith London dry gin with Noilly Prat, served straight-up with a lemon twist. It’s simple and classic.

We recently introduced the bespoke Martini Trolley to OXO Tower. This offers six specials and shows the evolution of the martini from its 1886 origin to our 2015 OXO version (3 parts London dry gin, one part white vermouth, Benedictine, mandarin and orange bitters, decorated with a frozen grape). Guests can ask any questions about the martini while it’s being made for them at their table. We offer a variety and styles of gin and vodka, vermouths from Belsazar German dry to Mancino rosso amaranto. Garnishes include Amalfi lemon zest, pink grapefruit zest, nocellara and alfonso olives.

This feature was published in June 2015

Photographs: Any Duncan, Jaso Bailey

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