From Bond and Monroe to Deuce Bigalow, the martini has always had a suave elegance that matches the silver screen. And you feel that movie glamour when you order one at the bar. Here are our tips for ordering a martini like a film star.
A bit like ironing or work-life balance, ordering a martini properly is one of those essential life skills they should teach in schools but don’t.
So we think this story is as much a public service message as it is an interesting topic - and even more so ahead of World Martini Day, which happens the third Saturday of June every year.
How to order a martini like a movie star
There’s something very smooth about knowing exactly what to say to elicit a perfectly made cocktail in a cool bar.
That’s opposed to fumbling with words, and blushing and shrugging through a series of questions while your bartender patiently tries to work out what it is you want.
What kind of martini?
First things first, you need to choose your spirit. There are many kinds of martini - from gin and vodka to all manner of flavours and iterations - not least the ever-popular espresso martini.
But at its purist, a martini is simply a white spirit, usually gin or vodka, with an ‘aromatised wine’, usually vermouth.
Shaken or stirred?
The James Bond shaken-not-stirred slogan is a tricky one. Usually a good bartender won’t ever shake your martini, especially if it’s gin.
Some say it ‘bruises’ the gin, but more importantly, shaking leaves ice shards and bubbles in the cocktail, which ruins the texture. So never ask for your martini to be shaken and if the bar tender does it anyway, probably don’t order another.
How dry do you like it?
A dry martini means less vermouth, more gin (or vodka). Vermouth balances out that burn effect strong spirits can have, though it also adds an extra layer of flavour.
A wet martini will have more vermouth added. If you want almost no vermouth at all, you can ask the bar staff to make yours as dry as possible.
Ordering a Perfect Martini will land you equal measures of gin, and sweet and dry vermouth. So this is a very ‘wet’ martini.
What gin do you want?
When your bar person asks you this, you can ask “what’s your house pour?” If it’s something you like, go with that.
But you want the best gin in the bar, right? So it’s at this point you ask what Australian gin they have. Hopefully you’ll have many to choose from.
Alternatively, tell the cocktail maker your preferred gin style - sweet, savoury, spicy, floral, earthy, navy strength… then they can give you recommendations.
What garnish do you fancy?
The most common garnishes are olives, pearl onions or with a twist.
If you want olives, you can also ask for a dirty martini. This is where the bar staff add a little olive juice to the cocktail, which gives it a dense salty flavour. You can even ask for yours ‘very dirty’, which is fun.
If you want pearl onions - tiny pickled cocktail onions - it means you are ordering a gibson martini. The onions add a sharp tang to the cocktail. It’s an excellent choice.
Ordering with a twist means the garnish will be a sliver of citrus peel, usually lemon or orange. If the gin is citrus forward, this is a good option.
But unless you really want a particular garnish, it’s usually safe to ask the bar staff what they would use for this gin.
If you know the gin and its flavour profile, you can suggest something different other than just olives.
So go for it! Enjoy World Martini Day and order like you’re on Camera One. Just don’t expect the mixologist to slide your martini down the bar for you to catch a la John Wayne.