October is set to be the month of the Martini with all eyes focused on Britain’s most famous secret agent. What better way to enjoy this spell then to sit back and relax with a classic Martini.
Those looking to create this iconic cocktail at home should follow Hendrick’s Gin’s timeless recipe for pure libation fulfilment. The cocktail connoisseurs among us who strive for martini perfection, should head to Berners Tavern to observe and experience the specially crafted Hendrick’s Labour Saving Mechanical Martini Mechanism – a curious contraption that creates faultless martinis every time.
50ml Hendrick’s Gin
7ml Dry Vermouth
Combine all in a mixing glass, stir to dilute, and chill. Strain into a martini glass.
MARTINI®, the internationally awarded vermouth, has launched its new Vermouth di Torino line, MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE. This crafted style of vermouth includes two variants, RUBINO and AMBRATO, which have been created using carefully selected Italian wines. Setting the standard for a Vermouth di Torino, the MARTINI Masters pay tribute to the traditional methods used by the first MARTINI Master Herbalist to craft a product of true distinction.
VERMOUTH DI TORINO
Since 1863 MARTINI has been producing vermouth in the Piemonte region, on the same site where it was established over 150 years ago. MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE expresses the quality and authenticity of the original style of Vermouth di Torino, reclaiming its traditions whilst marking a first for MARTINI in launching two new complementary expressions together. Carefully woven into the intricate design of the MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE label is the royal arms of the House of Savoy, the Kings of which first protected the term ‘Vermouth di Torino’ to prevent producers outside of the Piemonte region using the name. The new range seeks to boldly recognise and restore this once protected name of origin with other local producers, whereby Vermouth di Torino can only be assigned to expertly crafted vermouth using Italian wines and Artemisia herbs sourced from Piemonte that use the traditional methods and skills of the region.
NEW CRAFTED STYLE OF VERMOUTH
MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE is a celebration of Piemonte, which begins with sourcing local Italian wines, including small parcels of Langhe DOC Nebbiolo and Moscato d’Asti DOCG. The delicately harvested grapes have been selected by Beppe Musso, MARTINI Master Blender, for their unique and internationally revered depths and flavours, which is essential to the final blending with the aromatic botanical extracts. Demonstrating the creative spirit, dedication and expert craftsmanship of MARTINI, for the first time MARTINI Master Herbalist, Ivano Tonutti, has selected a blend of three different types of local Artemisia that grow in the nearby fields of Pancalieri, Piemonte. Together with our local and trusted partner, Cooperativa Erbe Aromatiche di Pancalieri, we are working to restore the region’s natural environment through regeneration of botanicals that were once cultivated in the past. Roman Chamomile, used in the creation of MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE AMBRATO, is one example of the aromatic herbs that we have successfully cultivated to ensure the environment is protected for future generations in our on-going quest for sustainability.
These local herbs are then intricately married with exotic botanicals to create a blend that is prepared in the traditional style of the original vermouth. Reinstating the time honoured and traditional methods of the region, the botanical extracts are rested in Piemontese Tino, small oak vats, for a period of over two months. This creates a harmony in the character and taste of our vermouth.
MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE
The small parcels of full-bodied Langhe DOC Nebbiolo wines used to create MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE RUBINO are blended with extracts of Italian Holy Thistle and Red Sandalwood from Central Africa to deliver a bright ruby red vermouth, which inspired the name of the expression. The delicate balance of botanicals creates a full-bodied herbal and complex style of Vermouth di Torino with a long aftertaste. The floral and aromatic blend of small parcels of Moscato d’Asti DOCG wines, used
to create MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE AMBRATO, produces a beautifully honeyed Vermouth di Torino. The yellow Cinchona bark from Ecuador and Chinese Rhubarb create a light-bitter taste profile that aromatises and elevates the flavours of the wines.
Giuseppe Gallo, MARTINI Global Brand Ambassador comments, “With over 150 years of history, MARTINI is proud to launch this new Vermouth di Torino to join its family of vermouths. Looking to the future, MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE RUBINO and MARTINI RISERVA SPECIALE AMBRATO encapsulate the forward thinking and passion of MARTINI, whilst restoring and respecting the deep understanding and traditional craftsmanship essential to creating a true Vermouth di Torino.”
“The Three Martini Lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?” – Gerald Ford, 1978
FROM MADISON AVENUE TO CITY ROAD
The return of the time-honoured, vermouth and gin soaked tradition of the Three Martini Lunch has landed at 5cc Singer Tavern.
Inspired by the original 1950s trend for food and drink pairings, 5cc Singer Tavern will offer a choice of 3 martinis from the exclusive martini menu paired with a selection of small plates to sustain guests through their liquid lunch. Bartenders will be on-hand to guide guests through the menu and assist in selecting different flavour profiles to suit to their palate, whilst hand-selected bar snacks from the Singer Tavern kitchen will reflect starter, main and dessert courses – olives aren’t the only thing that go with a martini!
During the great boom of advertising, the iconic Three Martini Lunch became an institution in its own right. An essential relationship builder between clients and business, it exploded into the bars of Madison Avenue in the 1950s, quickly becoming de rigueur amongst the US’ top advertising executives, businessmen and their clients – the original ‘Mad Men’.
Throughout this period, the country’s most creative and powerful would indulge in the extravagant tradition revolving around client lunches; 3 martinis and an assortment of high quality food offerings. Bringing together business and relationships, the Three Martini Lunch was a tactical way of encouraging divulgence of information, whilst treating oneself to the iconic cocktail in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Just remember, what happens during the Three Martini lunch stays at the Three Martini Lunch!
5cc THREE MARTINI LUNCH
Three Martini Lunch is £36 per person including 3 martinis from 5cc Singer Tavern’s exclusive martini menu paired with the Chef’s selection of small plates only available at this 5cc venue.
1. With the historic Knickerbocker Hotel (birthplace of the classic dry martini cocktail) due to reopen its doors this year after almost a century, the revival of vermouth is set to continue in 2015
2. The first international Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge kicked off with some of the world’s best bartenders showcasing their individual take on the recipe
3. Bartenders from London’s most established bars, including The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, Quo Vadis and 69 Colebrooke Row were invited to the brand’s home in Marseillan to create a contemporary twist on the classic dry martini cocktail using innovative ingredients
4. It was a white truffle infused, honey cocktail accompanied by a carefully hand stuffed olive that won the UK heats for Steve Lawson at London’s MASH in Soho
The UK Ambassador for Reyka, the premium Icelandic vodka, has invented a Martini Dispenser that delivers perfect, ice cold Reyka cocktails every time.
Fuelled with a mix of Reyka vodka, vermouth and limited edition Reyka bitters; at the push of a button the Martini Dispenser pumps the cocktail through flash coolers that chill the liquid down to -18 degrees Celsius before neatly dispensing it from a brass tap into your martini glass. All that’s needed to perfect the cocktail is a final red grapefruit zest garnish.
Joe Petch, UK Brand Ambassador for Reyka, commented: “With several events on the horizon, I’ve been looking for a way for guests to serve their own perfectly cold Reyka Martinis. The machine we came up with reflects the inventive culture of Iceland, where people do things a little bit differently but also in a resourceful way – reinventing unwanted or unused objects to fulfil another purpose.”
“The continued growth in cocktails has meant that consumers are hungry for new and interesting brands, unique serves and creative bartending. More than two thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for a unique serve in the on-trade*, so being able to create the ‘perfect serve’ has never been so important.”
The Rekya Martini Dispenser was unveiled at Fortnum and Mason on Tuesday 9th December and will appear at various UK bars throughout 2015.
Carrying on with my latest trend of researching vermouths, I turn my attention to a well-known brand which graces nearly every drinking establishment in the world – Martini.
Martini is an icon, and whether you savour it on its own, or utilise within the likes of a Manhattan or Martini, you can’t deny its international appeal. But how does a brand get to enjoy such global appeal? Well lets dive into the minds of the Martini masters, starting in 1863.
The combination of three gentleman became the catalyst for Martini (or Martini, Sola e C.ia as it was then called). Alessandro Martini was a gifted salesman, Teofilo Sola the accountant and Luigi Rossi the wine, herbalist and liqueur expert. Luigi utilised his experience and encouraged the team to locate to Pessione, Italy. Here, the chances of riding on the trend of vermouth were maximised, with the hills being the source of some of the best grapes and herbs around, as well as close to the Turin-Genoa railway (four years later, it negotiated with Northern Italy Railways to build a private railway track inside the plant, connecting them directly to the royal station of Pessione). 1865 saw there efforts rewarded, winning a medal for ‘Excellent Quality of Liqueurs’ at the prestigious Dublin International Expo Awards. Wanting to expand on this, and seeing no reason as to stop with border line of Ireland, they adorned each label with the Dublin medal and diploma iconographies, sharing the success with all consumers and suppliers further afield. With this came many more entries to competitions, signalling their intent to make Martini, Sola e C.ia known to the world.
The Martini, Sola e C.ia expanded to America in 1867, with the three-man team taking a risk by shipping crates of their vermouth to New York on a steamship named Hermann. A year later, the figures returned with confirmation that ‘Martini, Sola e C.ia exported three-quarters of the vermouth sold in the USA’. It was also within this year that they received a royal seal of approval.
A new label came into play, featuring the brands latest Asti medal and accomplishments in Paris and Dublin. The label now featured the Royal House of Savoy (one of the oldest Royal Houses in Europe) and the title ‘By appointment to HRM, King of Italy’ on behalf of King Vittorio Emanuele II, instantly raising the prestige of Martini, Sola e C.ia. By 1873, each label were to be redesigned with ‘By appointment to their royal majesties, the Kings of Italy and Portugal’, again showing off its international following.
In 1871, a letter was received from Shanghai requesting a ‘moscato spumante d’Asti’. Martini, Sola e C.ia were already producing a similar wine called Canelli spumante, but jumped at the challenge and began testing new flavours and techniques. Asti Spumante remains one of the best sellers in the Martini range to this day. Even when it came to transport, the team jumped at the challenge. Milanese agent, Girolamo Zucca, placed an order for three boxes of Fernet, a Martini digestive liqueur created in 1863. It was to be transported to Tehran, Iran. ‘Since the goods will travel on camelback for about two months, the boxes must be sturdy, each bottle will have to be packed in a small box with hay, and then packed with hay again in a large box…’ – Martini, Sola e C.ia duly obliged.
1879 became a sad yet turning year, with the passing of Teofilo Sola. In response, Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rosso, determined to uphold his memory, changed its trading name ‘Martini & Rosso’ in replace of ‘Martini, Sola e C.ia’. In 1882, Martini & Rossi were awarded with the gold medal at the ‘XII General Exhibition, Bordeaux – for wines, liquors and yeasted drinks’. The icon from Bordeaux remains on the label to this day, alongside those of Vienna in 1873, and Philadelphia in 1876.
1883 saw expansion, with Andrea Barberis, the company’s business developer in Argentina, proposing the build of a production site in the country to bypass the mounting customs duties. The Buenos Aires headquarters became the first outside of the Italian borders. Links with Cuba began in 1875 through Martini & Rossi’s connection with exclusive agents, Avignone and Brocchi. In a letter dated 1890, Juan Brocchi suggested the company needed to produce a new ‘dry’ vermouth if it wanted to keep up with the French Noilly Prat, who at the time were racing ahead within the world markets. Martini & Rossi took Brocchi’s advice and immediately began developing a new product of its own, resulting in the creation of Martini Dry in 1899, despite Luigi Rossi’s passing in 1892.
Of course, not everything that a company makes can turn to gold. In 1863, Martini, Sola e C.ia ledgers registered more than 300 products produced and sold by the company. By 1894, ledgers show a reduced product range of 90, but many of them were market leaders, such as Anisette, Champagne de Reims, Cognac fin Champagne, Curacao, English Punch, Rhum Giamaica, Elixir Spay and Chinato Wine. In a way, you’d never get very far without exploring new recipes and testing the market!
In 1903, Luigi Rossi’s brothers, Teofilo and Cesare, welcomed their younger brothers, Enrico and Ernesto, into the Martini & Rosso fold, spreading the family name to branches around the world. Two years later, Alessandro Martini passed away. In 1907, Cardinal of Turin, Agostino Richelmy, confirmed that Martini & Rossi’s wine, Montechiaro d’Asti Passito, ‘can be used to say Holy Mass, since it conforms to canon prescriptions…’. In Italy, religion is at the heart of society, and approval from the Cardinal was an honour.
Martini Bianco was launched in 1910, and eight years later commissioned leading Italian painter, illustrator, and poster designer Marcello Dudovich to design his now best-known work, ‘La Dama Bianca’. In 1925, Martini & Rossi designed its strongest label to date – ‘Martini’ in striking red capital letters. The team also tested out ‘Rossi’ as a solo name, but the bottles didn’t sell. Consumers had long referred to Martini & Rossi as ‘Martini’ and the team accepted the reality of the situation and the Rossi bottle was withdrawn.
1835 saw cousins Metello, Theo, Lando, and Napoleone become the third generation of Martini management and they threw themselves into sport, art, industry and society. Metello and Theo supported international sporting competitions, Lando’s art collection filled the Museum of Oenological History and Napoleone embraced new production techniques and welfare reform. In 1987, Martini had enlisted Bacardi to distribute within America, and six years later joined forces to create a production, commercial and distribution network, now seen as one of the world’s largest premium spirits company.
In 2007, Martini modernised its bottles, bringing in its distinctive curved shape as well as a label overhaul which now includes the world-famous ball and bar logo at the centre. It’s from these bottles that I have been lucky enough to sample, so without further delay, lets see how they fare –
Martini Extra Dry – 15%
Aromas of herbs, floral and spices blending well on the nose. A dry palate, with flavours of fresh fruit dancing to a short finish.
Martini Rosso – 15%
A strong scent of bitterness on the nose, a mix of oranges and caramel. Sweeter on the palate, with a soft texture producing a dry, herbal finish.
A classic range that I’ve tried so far, but I was introduced to the brand through recipes like this –
Combine all ingredients over an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with an orange slice.
The Martini name has stood the test of time, and have been innovators in marketing, distribution and of course the products that they have created. It may be everywhere you look, but there’s a reason behind it – it’s not a bad product at all. Enjoy.
After an impromptu night off work, a friend of mine suggested going back to a place we visited nearly a year ago named Lime. It’s situated in Salford Quays opposite The Lowry and after a brief walk from the Metrolink, we made our way through the ample outdoor seating to the bar area.
We decided to try some of the cocktails on offer and trawled through their extensive range. Highlights include classics like Mojito’s, Margarita’s and Long Island’s while what seems to be their own creations with names like Jamaica Funk, Quiet Sunday and Boston Gold.
I plumped for a Midnight Love whilst my friend went for the Jamaican Funk. There doesn’t seem to be any table service so upon walking up to the bar and ordering, I was able to scour their spirit range. Again notable names of Grey Goose, Havana and Tanqueray mixed with the lesser seen Frangelico, Kahlua and Benedictine.
Our drinks were bought over, my Midnight Love served in a Hurricane glass whilst the Jamaican Funk came in a Margarita glass, both garnished with fresh strawberries. My Midnight Love consisted of both fresh and strawberry syrup, vodka, orange juice and lime which blended well to create a fresh and very drinkable fruit-based cocktail. The flavour of strawberry overpowered the rest of the ingredients, but you could tell they were a part of it all as i powered through the crushed ice to get the last drop. The Jamiacan Funk was a more tangy affair – Appleton V/X rum blended with lime, Chambord and raspberries, topped with Champagne. This deeply fruity cocktail was a hit to the senses, with the initial burst of three fruits (four if you count the strawberry garnish) and the Appleton rum, followed by the fizz of the Champagne that gave it a raw feeling as it goes down. There wasn’t much aftertaste, almost as if the champagne cleanses your palate on every sip, and it definitely wasn’t as smooth as the Midnight Love. Don’t get me wrong, Champagne does obviously make a difference when added to any drink, I just don’t think it mixes well with those ingredients.
Next on the agenda was another two cocktails, Toblerone and Baby Kiss. The Toblerone consisted of Baileys, Kahlua, Frangelico, cream and Butterscotch while the Baby Kiss was a blend of strawberries, Chambord and Champagne. Whilst these were being made I took some time to check out the surroundings of Lime. It’s a spacious venue with an obvious yet subtle divide between bar and restaurant. The bar itself stretches round the back corner, with bottled beers displayed in small alcoves against bold lighting. The rest of the place has a lot of tin and copper ‘ripped apart’ to create a stunning effect, especially with the various lighting bouncing off the different angles.
My Toblerone arrived in a Martini Glass while the Baby Kiss was in a small Champagne flute. A garnish of chocolate dusting gave off the obvious smell of chocolate, with a rather striking taste. I’ll tell you know, it doesn’t taste like a Toblerone, rather a chocolate you get from an old sweet shop. Granted there’s no Creme de Cacao in the mix, and it does give you a creamy taste, but it’s not got that silky chocolate taste you expect. As for an after-taste, whether the bartender put too much in or not, Butterscotch ruins the end. It’s an unnecessary liquor to three that could have worked a lot better on their own. The Baby Kiss seemed to be a reverse of the Jamaican Funk, you got the Champagne first and then the subtle flavours of the fruit arriving after. With its basic ingredients, you won’t be disappointed, and is an excellent alternative to the Kir Royale.
To end the night we decided to go for a glass of red wine. My friend had been picking at a bowl of olives so i suggested a Spanish Tempranillo, whilst i went for a Chilean Merlot. I’m a huge fan of South American wines and was very impressed with Lime’s offering. The Santa Helena Merlot was a creamy and vibrant red, with distinctive cherry notes making their way through as you drink. It didn’t leave any hints of dryness which made this red an enjoyable end to my night. The Marques de Luna Tempranillo was a rich and well-rounded wine, with no significant flavour bursting through to your pallet. Compared to the Merlot though, it did leave a rather dry taste, something that i don’t particularly like when it comes to wine.
Overall, this is a great place to come and wind down, and would be a great bar to sit outside in the sun. I’d be a little picky on the cocktails next time as some don’t sound too appealing, or cost a bit too much for what ingredients are being used, but there is a good range of wines and beers (Heineken, Peroni, Budweiser etc.) to keep you going for a night or two.
I decided to swing by The Circle 360 for a drink with a friend of mine after work (this really is turning out to be my new favourite place!) and then came back later in the night with another friend who said he wanted to give it a try after my recommendations!
An interesting idea, and one you may have seen in other high-end bars, where the drink is presented with a small meringue placed on top for garnish. It didn’t give off many aromas, although I think the layer of cream may be the culprit, however once you take the first sip, the mixture of Luxardo Limoncello, Licor 43 and citrus juices gave a burst of flavour inside your mouth. Once you start to finish your drink, the initial rush of vanilla and citrus is replaced by a more gentle zest of lemon which gives at a rather smooth finish. This is a cocktail that does what it says – it’s a lemon meringue pie in a martini glass. Classic British!
Vanilla and Apple Martini – £5.45
My friend had a cocktail from its Martini selection and she chose a rather interesting combination of 42 Below Manuka Honey, apple schnapps and cinnamon. A simple blend of these ingredients gave off a rather strong wild apple in both its smell and taste – but don’t let that put you off. It doesn’t verge you on the cider category as the cinnamon literally drags your senses back to your cocktail. As the Lemon Meringue before, you will drink this rather quickly, and you’ll order both again.
Amaretto Midori Sours
A bartender recommendation – an Amaretto Midori Sours. Initially, I thought ‘I can’t see this working’ but in reality – wow! It seems to be one of those blends that just shouldn’t, but it does so well. Made the traditional sours way and served with crushed ice, it was presented to my friend with a slight lime green colour and an orange wedge as garnish. It gave off an expected aroma of melon and almond which blended rather well, as did the taste. I found it quite hard to describe, the almond didn’t overpower the melon as much as I thought it would, it complimented it rather well, while the Demerara sugar gave it a sweeter edge as the drink makes its way through your senses. A drink that wouldn’t look out-of-place in any cocktail bar, i would recommend to give it a try!
French Martini – £5.45
Another classic cocktail from there Martini range, the French Martini with its blend of 42 Below Pure, Chambord, fresh blackberries and a dash of Pineapple juice. Giving off a rich dark colour on arrival with a slight berry foam top giving off some fantastic rich aromas. Its taste of the tangy blackberries hits you initially yet a smooth and rather velvety end once it settles on your taste buds. All ingredients can be tasted yet none seems to overpower too much which makes it a rather well-balanced drink. The after-taste was a bit raw but i think that could be down to my dislike of fresh blackberries.
The Godfather – £4.95
This is my all-time favourite drink – a mix of Amaretto and Bourbon. Again a simple to make drink but with their use of Luxardo Amaretto and L.G. Woodford Reserve it gives it a more sophisticated edge over the usual and more commonly seen pairing of Dissaranno Amaretto and Jack Daniels. An orange peel for garnish brought out a rich aroma of sweetness mixed with almond and a slight hint of vanilla. Unfortunately being my favourite drink, it did go down rather quickly, but the taste was very smooth with a full-bodied sweetness, and not too strong as some of these alcohol only drinks can be sometimes.
Grey Goose Le Fizz – £5.45
A contemporary cocktail was chosen by my friend named the Grey Goose Le Fizz. Marketed as ‘a classical new twist’, the ingredients of Grey Goose, lime juice, elderflower cordial and then topped with soda gave off a dazzling cloudy finish in what could easily be mistaken for a Smirnoff Ice (god forbid). On the nose it had an obvious mix of lime and elderflower, with the hints of vodka slowly making its way through, and that’s what i could say about the taste too. You can taste all the ingredients, but it’s like they arrive one by one, and just make the experience better and better! Now I have to admit, I’m not a fan of soda. I think it’s a pointless liquid that ruins drinks, and I personally feel that this shouldn’t be topped with it. Now granted it does taste ok with it as you can’t really tell its there, but it would be interesting to see it topped with ginger beer, bitter lemon or even champagne.
I’m slowly making my way through their cocktail menu and will be posting up reviews as and when. I’ll also be trying some of their champagnes and wines to see how they compare.