The World’s Best Martini

Preparation info

  • Makes

    1

    Cocktail

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

The two most famous bartenders in the modern-day Blue Bar were Jimmy Fox, who worked days, and George Sroka, who had the night shift. Both of them had started there in 1946, before its renovation. When Fox retired in 1982, Sroka moved to days—and an ex-journalist from Brooklyn (by way of Los Angeles and Chicago) named David Grinstead took over in the evenings. Though Grinstead remained a writer at heart (he is the author of two novels, The Earth Movers and Promises of Freedom), he was also a first-class creator of cocktails, among them a stylish Sazerac, a textbook-perfect Sidecar, a dangerous but engaging “New York Margarita,” and, above all, what may well have been the world’s best Martini. This is his recipe.

As you will notice, Grinstead is quite specific about his choice of brands. “A number of other good gins don’t suit a Martini in my opinion,” he says. “Tanqueray’s too perfumey, Beefeater’s a bit bland.” It is also very important, he believes, to use a proper Martini glass—“clear, stemmed, straight-sided, V-shaped, chilled.” The Pernod, which will certainly be seen as heresy by most dedicated Martini drinkers, is imperceptible if added in the properly meager proportions. It merely “brings out” the flavors of the other ingredients, Grinstead believes.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 ounces Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, or Boodles gin
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Boissiere or Noilly Prat dry vermouth Pernod
  • 1 good-quality Spanish olive

Method

Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with ice, then pour in gin and add vermouth. Dip a bar sip (narrow plastic straw) into Pernod to the depth of about ⅛ inch, then swirl the moistened end into the gin. Stir 2 revolutions (no more!) and strain into glass. Add olive and serve.