Inspired, perhaps, by Jason Wilson’s columns on Martinis, I’ve remembered the joy of Perfect Martinis.  Last night I took it one step further (because, I admit it, I am out of dry vermouth), and used a mixture of Lillet and sweet vermouth.  Which, surprisingly, was the best Martini I’ve ever had.

Every month or so I get the craving for a Martini.  Not really for a Martini – for The Martini, an ever-receding, platonic ideal.  And every time I make a stab at that Martini (Plymouth, Noilly Prat, and home-made orange bitters – lemon twist), it’s never what I wanted.  It’s cool and elegant, sure, but kind of… unapproachable, too.  Like someone wearing one of those now-out-of-date perfumes that are brilliant, beautiful, and too weird to actually exist in the modern world.

Perfectest Martini

  • 2 oz gin (I use Plymouth almost exclusively)
  • 2/3 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/3 oz Lillet blanc
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (homemade orange-saffron)
    Stir well, over ice.  Garnish with a lemon peel.

It surely would have made Bond sneer, and sent Churchill into apoplexy, but I’m damned if it’s not one of the tastiest drinks I’ve had in a while.  Sweet, yes, but not overly sweet – like a Manhattan’s kid sister.  And, if you add a dash of Maraschino into the mix (and I highly recommend that you do, occasionally), you get a Martinez.  Two drinks for the price of one.