The Martini; it’s one of the best known yet most debated drinks around. Bond takes them shaken, not stirred. Then there’s the endless debate of whether it’s gin or vodka before we move on to how much vermouth, or whether you have it dirty. And that’s just the tip of the ice cube.
So when tackling Martinis you really need to know your stuff. Luckily the staff at The Collins Bar do. Having already established their outstanding reputation upon their wide range of cocktails, they’ve just released a special collection of 5 Martinis in time for the winter to set in, launched by the aptly named evening event Shaken and Stirred.
All are variations on the traditional martini, using Tanqueray 10 gin or Kettle One vodka as the base. Some like The Noble Experience err closer to the classic, offering up Tanqueray 10, house made vermouth and grapefruit bitters in a beaker on ice. The idea is that you only pour out a little at a time and keep the rest chilling so your martini is always ice cold, from first sip to last. It comes with a side of olives and juice so you can also DIY tweak to your taste.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Rhubarb Bliss, consisting of Madagascan vanilla infused Kettle One vodka, house made rhubarb syrup, vermouth and lemon juice, served with a side of fairy floss. A pure sweet delight, it is nothing like the traditional martini, yet shares the same key ingredients.
The aim of The Collins Bar is not only surprise and delight, but to create a Martini that can be enjoyed by everyone. There’s the Black Forrest for those looking for post dinner drink in place of dessert, while the Green Tea Martini serves well as an aperitif. The Smoking Scottsman, which is sprayed with peat scotch to give it a burnt, smoky aroma is the ideal choice for a drawn out nightcap.
All the cocktails are of course inspired by the classics that come before them, but another major influence includes food and the various flavour combinations that are trending, alongside advances in food science such as the use of liquid nitrogen. Not only is it about getting the right flavour combination, it’s about using the right ingredients, which The Collins Bar take seriously. The bar team produce the vermouth, plus many of the syrups and garnishes in house, which is testament to that fact. It’s just one of the reasons they’re behind the bar at midday, mixing, shaking, blending and creating, so that by the time you walk through the door at 6pm all you have to think about is, Shaken or Stirred?