Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Classic Gin Martini

I have major qualms with martinis.  They're the sort of drink you don't order at a Ho Bar else you end up with a warm tumbler full of bottom-shelf gin that's mysteriously blue.  If you order it at a bar where the decor suggests that they'd know how to make a martini, you end up with the same thing except in a martini glass.  The only situation in which I've been able to get a proper martini (gin or vodka) is if I paid 20,000 won for it.  (Cafe 74 in Apgujeong makes a beautiful martini).  The puzzling part is that gin martinis are moronically simple to make, and it only requires a few key components - good gin, good dry vermouth, a chilled glass and some olives.

I just bought a bottle of my favorite gin, Bombay Sapphire.  I got it at Homeplus for 30,000 won and it came with a free gin and tonic glass and a 2 oz. mini-bottle of some more Bombay Sapphire.  I love deals.  I'll buy five boxes of cereal I don't even eat to get a free water gun.  I also picked up some Martini White Dry Vermouth for about 15,000 won.  A 5 oz. container of green olives for 3,500.

If I consider the math, one cocktail will cost about 2,000 won.  Here's the breakdown.
1 bottle of Bombay Sapphire (750 mL) = 17 shots (1.5 ounces each)
1,760 won per shot
1 bottle of Martini White Vermouth (1 liter) = 100+ half ounce servings
150 won per 1/2 ounce
1 container of pimento-stuffed green olives (5 ounces) = about 15 olives
150 won per olive

That's roughly 2,000 won per martini.  Does that mean I can get seventeen martinis for 40,000 won?!  Before I can be accused of having the masses scrambling to support their alcohol addictions, I should say that this scenario is completely unrealistic.  Unless you really are sitting at home pouring out martinis alone with the curtains drawn, you're drinking with friends.  In my experience, martinis are a social drink.  Friends come over, and I usually end up spending more hosting than I would if I had gone out and had my 20,000 won martini.

A Class Gin Martini
First, chill your glasses by filling them up with ice water.

Then fill your shaker with ice and 1.5 - 2 ounces of gin.  Shake.

Pour out the ice water from the chilled martini glasses and plop in 1/3 ounces (1 bottle cap) of dry white vermouth.  Swirl it around the glass, and throw the rest out.  I throw the rest out into my mouth.

Drop in some olives.  I like three.

Eyes back on the shaker.  Shakey shake.  Strain the gin out of the shaker into the martini glasses.

Some people opt for a sliver of lemon peel as a garnish instead of the olives.  Drink up.


  1. I've been looking for some dry vermouth. Did you also get it at emart?

  2. No, I got it at Homeplus in Dongdaemun. I've also gotten it at the liquor store in Gyeongnidan.

  3. That's great, thanks so much. My boyfriend has been complaining about not being able to find a decent martini in this country. Hopefully this will make him happy!

  4. No problem. I'm so glad I can be of help. Happy New Years!

  5. That's an authentic martini! It must have gin and it must have vermouth. I am amused by bars that have a "martini menu" with 50 flavors, all made with vodka. Those are cocktails, not martinis.

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