There may be no greeting cards associated with World Martini Day, celebrated on June 19. But there’s plenty to celebrate, including the spirit in your cocktail glass.
Justin Noel, the proprietor of 1534, Bleecker Kitchen and Company and Sweetwater Social, all in New York City, serves at least a dozen martinis every night he works behind the bar. It’s the drink of choice for “people who aren’t looking to follow the trends,” he says. “It’s usually drinkers who are comfortable in their own skin, who know what they want and aren’t concerned with what others are drinking.”
Though a classic martini, made with vodka or gin and a whisper of dry vermouth, is a relatively straightforward cocktail, Noel says proper technique is essential to a delicious drink. “It needs to be cold enough. It needs to be diluted enough. And you have to start with a good spirit.”
In the wine world, there’s talk of terroir, the effects of geography, geology and climate on an agricultural product. Terroir-driven spirits, including agricole rum and small-batch bourbon, are beloved by bartenders precisely because of their signature flavors. “You’re seeing this terroir-driven approach to spirits applied to vodka,” says Noel. “My favorites, including elit™ by Stolichnaya® are the ones where you can taste the terroir, taste the grain. Vodka is not a flavorless spirit. It has its own distinctive flavor, and in the right hands, with proper care and distillation, that flavor is great.”
A nuanced, flavorful vodka with a taste of place: just one more thing to celebrate on World Martini Day.