Martini Basics

The key to a good martini is ensuring that both the glass and the drink are cold. The Bear always chills the martini glass prior to mixing the cocktail. Fill the martini glass with 4 or 5 ice cubes, then add cold water. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes while you make the cocktail, then dump it out just prior to straining of the drink into the glass.

The Bear never shakes his martini. Sure, James Bond likes his martini that way, but it ends up with a blizzard of ice on the top that weakens the drink. The argument for shaking is that it makes the drink colder, but the downside is that shaking adds more water and dilutes the martini. If you are ordering when out, to be safe, request that the drink be stirred; many bartenders will shake unless instructed otherwise.

The Bear does not put his liquor in the freezer. While doing so ensures a cold drink, it is unnecessary and misses an important element of a good martini. Mixing the drink with room temperature liquor will cause the ice to melt a little, adding a small amount of water to the drink, which enhances the flavor and makes the cocktail a bit smoother. Leaving the drink on the ice too long, however, will add too much water. For this reason, you should use ice cubes rather than crushed ice.

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