Slate.com has no shortage of excellent content, but their interactive Martini Madness contest is the most brilliant thing I’ve seen on the site yet. Their contributors researched most everything that’s been written on the world’s most iconic cocktail, distilling it into 80 drinks, with recipes and the occasional anecdote. Rules of the game? The drink must contain gin and vermouth. Everything else is up for grabs. Which recipes make it into the final NCAA-inspired brackets? You decide.
There’s an epic amount of variation in the combinations of gin- and vermouth-based cocktails here. Most resemble the classic formula of dry London gin, dry French vermouth, and bitters, but there are fantastic riffs, as well. My votes go for a true classic, The Nick & Nora, and for a fascinating new(er)comer, The Ideal Cocktail:
The Nick & Nora
(from chef Daniel Boulud’s Classic Cocktails with a Twist)
- 3 ounces Beefeaters Gin
- 1 ounce Dolin dry vermouth
- 1 dash orange bitters
- lemon twist
Add first three ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake until it is too cold to hold. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with lemon twist.
And tonight, I’m going to try this fantastic notable new(er)comer:
The Ideal Cocktail
(Trader Vic’s 1947 Bartenders Guide)
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
- 1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino
- grapefruit twist
Add first four ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake until it is too cold to hold. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with grapefruit twist.
Photo Credit: Poul Lange