1). Prairie Organic bottle: Erik Eastman
2). Martini: James Eastman
There are so many places to get a proper cocktail in the Twin Cities these days. Why shouldn’t one of those places be . . . yours. That place you call “home” can and should be a great place to get a cocktail, namely, a Martini. Here’s how.
Use gin. Don’t dismiss all gin as “piny.” That’s like saying all beer is “hoppy,” or all juice is “fruity.” Prairie Organic just released a gin that is beautifully crisp and balanced, with light green herb, citrus and spice notes. A versatile locally produced gin, it’s distilled in Benson from organic corn grown by Minnesota farmers. Or, consider stocking your home bar with Bluecoat from Philadelphia, Junipero from San Francisco, and Beefeater and Cadenhead’s Old Raj blue label from London.
Buy quality dry vermouth and store it properly. Vermouth is wine that has been fortified and aromatized with spirits, herbs and spices. It oxidizes rather rapidly. And just like cheap wine, cheap vermouth tastes like cheap vermouth. Cheap vermouth that has oxidized? Horrible! Buy quality dry vermouth in small bottles such as Noilly Prat, available for under $10 for 375ml and invest in a $10 Vacu Vin wine saver, vacuum your vermouth after each use, store it in the refrigerator, and commit to your Martini-making practice.
Use clean ice and fresh organic lemons. The ice that’s been in your freezer for months collecting odors can impart strange smells and flavors to your drink. Also, the essential oils from a lemon twist really put this drink over the top. Use a fresh organic lemon, free of pesticides and the waxes sprayed onto the fruit to make it look nice at the store. Both items may seem trivial, but the difference is in the details.
The Shake vs The Stir – Entirely up to you. Traditionally, drinks that are simply combining spirits, like the Martini, are stirred. Cocktails that are combining ingredients like fruit juices, syrups, and egg whites with spirits are shaken, to properly combine or emulsify the ingredients. We like our Martini stirred, which yields a cleaner looking cocktail, and gives the cocktail creator greater control over the dilution of the drink. A shaken Martini will appear cloudier, with little shards of ice, but may have a more appealing mouthfeel. Give both a try, and pick your favorite.
- 2oz Prairie Organic Gin
- 1/2oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
- Easy & Oskey Orange bitters
- Combine gin, vermouth and bitters in a mixing glass over clean ice
- Stir approximately 10 seconds to combine, dilute, and chill. Strain into a well chilled martini glass. Taste.
- Remove a coin-sized (more quarter than dime) piece of lemon peel from a fresh organic lemon, squeeze and drop into the cocktail. Taste again. Savor.
*Note: The higher the proof on the gin, the more dilution required, the longer the stir.