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Smoky Martini

A Martini glass with a knobby stem sits on a silver bar tray with intricate inlay. It is garnished with a long twist of lemon peel. Also on the bar tray is a long bar spoon, a Hawthorne strainer, and a mixing glass with ice cubes.
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Dale DeGroff

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 even more depth, richness and boozy sophistication to the drink? 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 the 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 to decide on. Beefeater Gin and Dewars Blended Scotch make for an affordable version of the drink without sacrificing much in the way of quality. However, if you are looking for some alternatives there are even 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 of course, when it comes to blended scotch, it’s hard to beat something like Chivas Regal; even 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 could well replace your traditional order, or at least stand in for it once in a while. Just remember that substituting scotch for vermouth makes the already strong Martini that much more potent. It’s certainly not the type of drink one has when enjoying a “three Martini lunch,” for instance. If you’re looking for that kind of Martini, one where you can still stand up after thirds, you’re better off mixing a 50/50 Martini, or even something like a Reverse Martini.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/4 ounce blended Scotch whisky
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Steps

  1. Add both ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a Martini glass.

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.