It’s hard to think of a pre-dinner drink more respected and sublime than the Dry Martini. Elegant, bracing, strong and refined, it’s the perfect opening to a steak dinner or other hearty meal, as well as a lovely way to end an evening. But how can you add further depth, richness and boozy sophistication to the classic cocktail? The answer comes from bartending legend Dale DeGroff: The educator, author and historian replaces the vermouth in the classic drink with a blended scotch in his Smoky Martini.
The Smoky Martini is no slouch. With two and half ounces of gin and a quarter ounce of smoky whisky, it packs a seriously boozy punch, even more so than a traditional Martini. Of course, as with any version of the drink, the specific ingredients are up to you. Beefeater Gin and Dewars Blended Scotch make an affordable version of the drink without sacrificing much in the way of quality. However, if you are looking for alternatives there are higher quality spirits with which to make the Smoky Martini. For instance, Plymouth and Fords Gin are both stellar exemplars of the London Dry style. And when it comes to blended scotch, it’s hard to beat a bottling like Chivas Regal. The most dedicate single malt enthusiasts have difficulty denying the quality of Chivas.
Whatever route you take with the particulars, it’s important that the two spirits intermingle well. It might takes some taste tests, but once you’ve found a combination that suits your Smoky Martini standards, this serve could well replace your traditional order—or at least stand in for it once in a while. Just remember that substituting scotch for vermouth turns the already strong Martini that much more potent. It’s not the type of drink one has when enjoying a “three Martini lunch.” If you’re looking for that kind of Martini, one where you can still remain upright after thirds, you’re better off mixing a 50/50 Martini, or maybe a Reverse Martini.
Click Play to See This Smoky Martini Come Together
- 2 1/2 ounces gin
- 1/4 ounce blended Scotch whisky
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the gin and scotch to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a Martini glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.