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An Easy Way to Enjoy the Martini Cocktail

 The Martini cocktail from the big scheme of things isn't really a very easy drink to make. It requires vodka or gin, a martini glass, and possibly some ice. But just as much as you might ruin a good steak with too much of it, you could also ruin a fine Martini. Let's take a closer look at the origins, process, and science behind this seemingly easy drink has made it a staple of many a party.

The origins of the Martini are somewhat hazy. The most likely story is that the phrase "Martini" was taken from the Savoy, an Italian watering hole whose name means literally "water from the sky." Another story is that it was created by accident when a bartender was trying to perfect the glass shaker and accidentally left the glass over boiling water, causing the liquid to drain.

The process of making a martini cocktail is simple enough. Gin is usually either purchased fresh from a distiller or brought from a bar; however, since vodka is easier to bottle, most bartenders prefer to mix theirs with vermouth or orange juice. Then the gin is mixed with a small amount of dry vermouth, a little ice, and vodka. The mixing is done with a shaker, not a blender, to prevent any foam from appearing on top. It is shaken well until the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Most bartenders add a bit of dry mustard to the cocktail to give it a bit of thickness. Other ingredients such as cream cheese are also commonly added. If the ingredients are combined and strained into a martini shaker, then they can be served. It is best to pour a tiny amount of each ingredient into the shaker first, shaking well, before pouring the entire mixture into a glass and allowing it to settle.

There are a number of different recipes for martinis. In the late afternoon, the Martini consists of vermouth, gin, lemon, and olive oil. At various times throughout the evening, different flavors are added such as Manhattan, Grand Canal, Manhattan on the rocks, and Manhattan with the crust. For a variation on the Manhattan, mix gin with Grand Canal liqueur.

Many people enjoy modifying the standard Martini by swapping out some of the ingredients and adding their own flavorings. A popular idea for modifying a traditional cocktail is to replace the gin, usually lemon, for brandy or rum. Begin by consuming only one-eighth of a cup of brandy or rum; this amount is just enough to provide the base of the cocktail.

Mix in three to four ice cubes, the amount depending on the size of your glass, and then add in the ingredients. Shake again until the ingredients are blended well. If using a blender, take the crushed ice and add in about three to four ounces of grapefruit, then immediately replace the grapefruit in the blender. This will create a thicker and more intense foam which makes the drink taste much more exciting. You can also substitute frozen fruits for the grapefruit in the Martini. Another fun idea for modifying the Martini is to replace the gin, lemon, or orange juice with orange, lime, or tangerine.

Adding dry vermouth to the Martini is also quite popular. Dry vermouth is available in various flavors, such as garlic, thyme, or cranberry. The dry vermouth is typically used with white wine, but can be added to any red or dry wine that you choose. To serve the Martini, pour the vermouth along with the dry cocktail mix over a cocktail glass and allow the vermouth to settle for about a minute. This will allow the flavors to meld properly. The Martini is typically topped with a cherry or lemon slice, depending on your preference.