We Asked a Bartender: How to Perfect Your Martini Recipe for the Holidays

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We Asked a Bartender: How to Perfect Your Martini Recipe for the Holidays

With the holidays closing in, there’s no better time for a Martini. Not only is it a drink you can pre-batch in large volumes for party guests, but it’s also an easy-to-make and customizable option that each imbiber can adapt to their liking. No matter how your guests choose to enjoy the classic cocktail, a high-quality gin is essential to your recipe.

That’s why those in the know reach for The Botanist.

The Botanist Martini

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is a go-to for bartenders whipping up Martinis. This spirit features 22 botanicals that have been foraged by hand on the Scottish island of Islay. These botanicals tell a flavorful and fragrant story of the Scottish island: flora like bog myrtle, clover, gorse flowers, meadowsweet, orris root, and more permeate the spirit. Combined, they also make the perfect canvas for a cocktail. The different botanicals lend it a variety of different flavor profiles, making it highly versatile in a range of recipes. 

Each ingredient is embossed on the bottle in Latin, making a bottle of The Botanist a nice talking piece on a home bar – and a thoughtful host/hostess gift – for the season.

A good gin speaks to where it was brought up. Some call it terroir, others simply call it an identity. Increasingly, gin has revealed a certain sense of place in its makeup. The Botanist helped jump-start that trend and it remains a shining example of what it is to experience the full flavor of the remote Scottish island it calls home. What ends up in the bottle is a layered exploration of flavor that lends itself well to festive, warming holiday cocktail. 

Martinis for Entertaining

How best to finesse your Martini recipe for the holidays? Once you’ve secured a bottle of The Botanist, we recommend keeping things on the simple side. A selection of just a few ingredients lets the spirit shine and keeps things easy to batch for a crowd.  

Batching Martinis ahead allows you to take a break from stirring, shaking, and garnishing to enjoy the festivities right alongside your loved ones.

Once you have an idea of how many guests will be attending your festive fête, consider how many drinks each of them will have — one per hour is a good rule of thumb — and multiply the amount of liquid called for in the recipe by the number of drinks you’re expecting to serve. This will also help you figure out what size vessel you need to store your batched cocktail in.

Put the batch of Martinis in the freezer just a few hours before party time, and you’re ready to go. 

A Botanist Martini lends itself to an array of different garnishes, from simple lemon twists and olives to more festive options such as sage leaves and pomegranate seeds. Set up a DIY Martini bar for guests and allow them to select their own garnishes for a fun touch. 

The Botanist Gin Martini

The Perfect Holiday Martini

Nicholas Bennett, bartender and beverage director at Porchlight in New York City, offers a decidedly iconic recipe for the holiday. “[The] Botanist gin is a wonderful gin to make a Martini with because it already has a well-balanced blend of herbs and aromas to it before the vermouth is added,” he says. “It has a big, rather flowery aroma, and is warm and smooth, but with a crisp finish. Once you soften the gin even more with a clean dry vermouth, you are left with an elegant cocktail.”

With the flavor profile taken care of, it’s essential that your technique is just as refined. Ross Elliott, head mixologist at NYC’s Blackbarn, has some advice. “Personally, my biggest tip is that the best-tasting Martinis are always stirred, never shaken,” Elliot says. “Stirring dilutes the drink slowly rather than breaking up the ice into shards, which waters it down.” The end result can often drown in a bit too much H2O.

“When stirring, never hold on to the vessel you’re stirring the liquor in,” Elliott adds. “The heat from your hand will melt the ice faster, causing over-dilution.”

More pro tips? Get your balance in order. “I would like the gin to shine in a five-to-one ratio here, only because with a gin like this, there is no need to try and soften any aggressive juniper or harsh alcohol flavors,” Bennett says.

The Botanist Martini

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ ounces The Botanist gin
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • Lemon or olive for garnish

Directions:

  1. Chill your Martini glass of choice.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a glass stirrer, add ice, and stir until the liquor line is higher than the ice line and the glass stirrer is cold to the touch for perfect dilution.
  3. Strain into your glass, serve up and garnish with an olive or lemon twist.

To batch for a crowd:

The Botanist Martini (Serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups The Botanist gin
  • ½ cup dry vermouth
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • Lemon twists or olives for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a spouted measuring cup or pitcher. 
  2. Once combined, pour into an empty 750-milliliter bottle (using a funnel if needed) and place in the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of two hours before serving. 
  3. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and pour into chilled cocktail glasses.
  4. Garnish with a lemon peel or garnish of choice. 

This article is sponsored by The Botanist.