The Wild Martini
From its origins sometime in the 18th century, the Martini has endured and evolved. It’s a sophisticated cocktail that gets an upgrade every few years. From the Dry Martini in the roaring 1920’s, to James Bonds Vesper Martini in the 1950’s, to the Espresso Martini that seems to be the drink of choice amongst many drinkers here in Bristol. Perhaps right now it is time to add to that list the Wild Martini, a drink that infuses the outdoors into this classic drink.
The Wild Martini is unlike many other cocktails as it can change with the seasons as Each of its botanicals comes in and out of season. It can also change depending on where you live and what wild plants are available. The below ingredients are meant as a suggestion as you should really put your mark on the wild Martini, I’ll refrain from saying “go wild”.
For the gin
Gin is basically a flavoured vodka it’s just that one of the flavourings has to be juniper but other than that one essential botanical you can put anything you like in. These are suggestions and pretty much what I have in season within a few steps from my back door.
1 x 750ml bottle of cheap Vodka filtered 8 times.
30ml of Juniper tincture (infuse 20 juniper berries overnight in 100ml vodka).
1 tbs Wild Rose petals
1 tbs Elderflowers
3 springs of Ground Ivy (alehoof/ Glechoma hederacea)
1 tsp of Geum urbanum root (herb bennet/wood avens/clove root)
2 tbs of fennel leaves or 1/4 tbs of seeds
1 handful of spruce tips
Pour your juniper tincture into your vodka.
Place the remaining botanicals into the mason jar. Top up with the juniper vodka and leave for a further 36 hours. Alternatively, you can rapidly infuse all the ingredients using a Nitrous oxide infuser/cream whipper.
Filter your gin back into the vodka bottle.
For the vermouth
1x bottle of white wine – a cheap Pinot Grigio works or if you want to be even wilder, a bottle of homemade country wine. I’m a fan of dandelion or rosehip, courgette hasn’t worked quite so well in the past.
10ml Wormwood infusion – without which it wouldn’t be a vermouth
9 x other infused wild herbs and botanicals. Take your pick, mix and match and experiment. I tend to use small Kilner jars filled with herbs and then topped up with vodka. Seal and put into a dark cupboard. As for how long you let everything infuse. 3 days for flowers, 2-3 weeks for herbs and up to three months for nuts.
The trick really is to load up a few bitter flavours and some aromatics. Just ensure that you are not imbibing anything poisonous.
200ml Caramel syrup
Pour the above into a large jug and stir until fully mixed.
PLEASE NOTE I HAVE SINCE UPDATED MY VERMOUTH MAKING METHOD and will be posting an updated video and blog post somewhere soon! Links will be here.
For the Wild Martini
There is no greater debate in cocktail circles than the best ratio for a Martini, I’m going to put my next out and suggest that you should make it just how you like and stuff everyone else. Personally, I like to have 3-4 parts vermouth to 1 part gin. However, most will say this should be the other way around.
It should be served in a chilled cocktails glass (also mistakenly called a Martini glass), with three pitted olives on a cocktail stick. It should be stirred and not shaken, although there has been some research to suggest that, despite making the cocktails cloudy, shaking will release more antioxidants! I guess this means a shaken Wild Martini is almost a super food.