Although the name now applies to all sorts of cocktails, “martini” originally meant the recipe of five parts gin to one part dry vermouth. An olive was allowed, and even a touch of bitters. You could shake or stir; it was still a martini.
The name now describes everything from the original to a glorified shot of vodka to the fruity appletini. Good bartenders, however, still know how to make the classic.
While Kyle Fleischfresser, beverage director for Western Concepts, adds more vermouth than recommended, he insists on the gin.
“We’ll make it any way you request,” Fleischfresser said, “but gin and vermouth are like peanut butter and jelly: They go together.”
One of the more popular requests in the genre is the vodka martini — essentially, five ounces of vodka shaken or stirred.
How that differs from a giant shot of vodka is hard to decipher, but it doesn’t stop people from ordering it.
The flexible definition allows bartenders to experiment. Boulevard Steakhouse, 505 S. Boulevard in Edmond, literally plays with the ingredients in its weekly contest, WTF (What’s the Flavor?).
Created by managing partner Margaret Holloway, the contest features prizes for guests who can figure out the special Friday martini’s ingredients.
“Our Skinny Berry is very popular right now,” said Tiffany Poye, bar manager. “We use Three Olives Berry vodka, Pama [pomegranate liqueur], berry puree and agave nectar.”
Boulevard’s classic martini features Bombay gin, or Absolut for vodka fans.
“We go a little light on the vermouth, because it can be overpowering,” she said.
The Skirvin Hilton’s Red Piano Lounge, 1 Park Ave., boasts an impressive martini menu, including a vodka martini made with Stoli Elit, one of the finest vodkas available in the state. One interesting variation is the Great Scott: Hendrick’s gin shaken and garnished with cucumber.
The Skirvin isn’t afraid of fruit or sugar, either.
It makes a chocolate martini with vanilla vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur and cream — a drinkable dessert, as is the white chocolate raspberry martini made with Chambord.