Ah, the Martini.
One of the fundamental cocktail structures–spirit and vermouth (think, too, of the Martini’s close sibling, the Manhattan)—the history of the Martini is mythical. One of the earliest versions to show up in the cocktail record—sometime in the 1870s, I think—has the Martini made of half gin and half sweet vermouth, plus orange bitters. Yes, sweet vermouth. Actually, a rather marvelous recipe still, if you use good gin, better sweet vermouth, and don’t forget orange bitters.
But drink tastes became drier, and dry vermouth became the vermouth of choice, and then orange bitters got lost in the rush of years (Prohibition Years, for instance), and people forgot how to treat vermouth, and a “Dry Martini” came to mean winking at the vermouth bottle.
The Castle Street Café Martini doesn’t wink, and the resulting drink is marvelous. We use Bombay Sapphire, a nice London Dry Gin that has a vibrant botanical profile. (If you must not consider gin—no doubt because of some early drinking misfortune—the vodka selection is Chopin Potato Vodka.) Quady Extra Dry Vermouth is the other main ingredient, but our custom orange bitters blend is an essential element as well.
The Castle Street Café Martini
- 2 ½ oz. Bombay Sapphire (or substitute Chopin Potato Vodka)
- ¾ oz. Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
- 1-2 dashes CSC orange bitters
Ingredients into shaker, ice, stir, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Our go-to garnish is the lemon twist, but feel free to add some green olives. We’re going light on the vermouth so as to not freak anyone out, but if you are in town, ask us to use more vermouth, say 2 ½ oz. gin-to-1 oz. vermouth, for you to try. You’ll like it. As you approach the last sip of your second one, of course, you’ll love it!
There are a multitude of Martini variants, and we’ll no doubt cycle a number of such through our changing cocktail menu. There is one, for example, often called “Bordeaux” that subs out the dry vermouth for Lillet Blanc, and that one will show up as the warm season approaches, so bundle up and stay tuned.