Credit: Edward Steichen/Getty Images
In much the same way one’s coffee order speaks depths to your character, the way in which you take a martini is similarly as revealing.
For Joe McCanta, an international bartender of choice for the likes of everyone from Stella McCartney to Al Gore, customisation is key where the undisputed king of cocktails is concerned.
“I think the reason why the martini has remained one of the most iconic of cocktails is it is one of the few classic drinks that you can really make your own,” McCanta, also a London-based global brand ambassador for Grey Goose, told GRAZIA. “Dry or wet, olives or twist, shaken or stirred – the Martini is all about personalisation, about finding the perfect version for you. That has then led to so many incredible stories about the martini being sipped by some of history’s greatest figures. I think what makes it a classic cocktail is the fact that it is, like most top classic cocktails, deceivingly simple. Only three ingredients really, but an infinite amount of ways these can be combined to create new drinks.”
Like many in his field, the Californian native, once an aspiring jazz pianist, cut his teeth in New York City where he helped spearhead the organic cocktail movement at the Counter Organic Wine and Martini Bar, an East Village vegan bistro where the fusion of classicism and customisation updated old lounge standards like the French Martini for a new era. It was there (in New York, not at his place of work) where he enjoyed the first of two quintessential martini experiences.
“I had the great fortune many years ago to have the great King Cocktail himself – Dale Degroff – make me a Grey Goose Martini in New York. Here’s the man responsible for bringing the Martini back to its heyday in the late 1990s; the man responsible for bringing classic cocktail culture back. It was quite the experience. Apart from that, there was always such an incredible feeling sipping a martini at the Ritz in Paris – bartender Colin Field always creates an impeccably made martini and I’m so pleased that the Ritz, with all of its incredible stories, has finally reopened again.”
Those looking to emulate the latter experience need not rush to the Ritz. You can find McCanta’s recipe for a classic martini below, just in time for that most important of holidays, National Martini Day.
Grey Goose Martini
50 ml Grey Goose vodka
10 ml Noilly Prat
1 dash of orange bitters
Stir all your ingredients over ice until well chilled. Strain the contents into a chilled coupe or martini glass. “I think you want the cocktail to be perfectly diluted – meaning the correct amount of water added from the melting of the ice – and perfectly chilled,” says McCanta. The results should speak for themselves, entailing “a nice round texture, silky and smooth and well balanced.”
Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
Photo by Edward Steichen/Getty Images