I went out for dinner the other night and saw somebody else order a martini. It looked fantastic, so I had to get one for myself. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to take a picture of what this classic cocktail looked like, but you've probably seen one before. Being a martini novice, I learned a lot about it that night thanks to our lovely waitress asking a bunch of questions as we ordered.
Vodka or Gin?
Well, I knew the answer to that. While my other diners went for vodka, I went for gin because I always knew it to be the proper spirit for a martini. Surprisingly, I was told this was the "dangerous" choice. According to our waitress, the human body processes gin differently than other spirits because of the juniper berries that gin is made with. This apparently causes a delayed reaction to the alcohol in your system, so you don't feel it until later. I wasn't able to confirm this online, but I have had some bad nights on gin, so I'll take her word for it. I still ordered gin though.
Dry or Very Dry?
This refers to the amount of Vermouth that goes into the cocktail. I really didn't know what was normal, so I just kind of shook my head when she asked "dry?".
If you say yes, you'll get your martini "up" in the cocktail glass rather than in a normal glass. I wasn't sure this was even an option as I always see martinis in the cocktail glasses. It just looks right that way.
Olive or a Twist?
So, you can either have some green olives as a garnish or a slice of lemon. I've always been more accustomed to seeing olives in a martini glass, so I went with those (we got 3 on a toothpick).
If you want to make your martini dirty, you put some olive juice in it. You can even drink it "very dirty" with even more olive juice. I didn't get it dirty.
Rocks on the side?
If your martini isn't cold enough, you can have some ice on the side to chill it to your liking. It wasn't necessary in this case; the drink was nicely chilled.
The martini is a beautifully simple and clean looking beverage. With good booze in it, it really tastes pretty great as well. I usually can't afford buying them because they always seem to be very expensive at bars or restaurants, but every once in a while you just have to class it up and go for it.