The Vodka Martini
Bracing, Clean, and Smooth
When it comes to martinis, there seems to be a perpetual debate about which base spirit to use – vodka or gin? We believe there are merits for both, but they create two very distinct cocktails. As opposed to the more savory and herbaceous Classic Martini made with gin, the Vodka Martini is elegant, clean, and just a little sweet. Made correctly, it's a true celebration of vodka; the most consumed spirit on Earth.
Vodka is legally defined as being a neutral spirit, "without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color." However, anyone who has tasted different types of vodka knows that there are many different tastes and characteristics to each brand. They're subtle, but they're real. Vodka distilled from potatoes, like our Portland Potato Vodka, is incredibly crisp, smooth, and a bit cleaner tasting than a corn or wheat based vodka. It all starts in the ferment but we’re not going down that rabbit hole in this post.
To highlight the purity of a good quality vodka, it's paramount to use a good quality vermouth. Like all simple 2 or 3 ingredient cocktails, it's nearly impossible to cover up the taste of a bad ingredient. While a traditionalist approach to choosing vermouth would be to stick with a bone dry vermouth like Noilly Prat Extra Dry, we've enjoyed variations that use a slightly sweeter vermouth like Dolin Blanc, Lillet Blanc, or Cocchi Americano. The sweetness of these fortified wines plays off the softness of potato vodka, and is best with a bit of lemon oil expressed over the top.
Here's how to make the perfect vodka martini.
2 ounces Portland Potato Vodka
.5 ounce French vermouth
*This drink is best served in an ice cold coupe glass, place a couple cubes of ice into your glass before you start to make the drink to pre-chill.
Add vodka and vermouth to a mixing glass with a scoop of fresh ice. Stir gently with a bar spoon for 25-30 seconds (only secret agents are allowed to shake their martinis). Strain into your empty, chilled coupe glass and squeeze the lemon peel over your glass to express the oils into your cocktail. Garnish the rim with your lemon peel.