A Wet Martini Probably Doesn't Mean What You Think It Does

Brace yourselves: A "wet" martini isn't quite what you'd think. To understand the construction of this drink, we must first consider the ratio of the spirit to the vermouth. Vermouth is a fortified wine infused with a blend of botanicals, herbs, spices, and roots, and there are two varieties. But which type belongs in a martini, and what does this mysterious substance do? When it comes to this iconic cocktail, dry vermouth is the go-to. A "wet" martini, prepared with a higher proportion of dry vermouth, lends a smooth and aromatic character to the drink. The botanicals in vermouth enhance the drink, and its sweetness also provides a balanced contrast to the spirit's boldness. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the "dry" martini, made with (you guessed it) less vermouth. This version has a crisper and more spirit-forward profile. Less vermouth allows the martini's primary spirit, like gin or vodka, to take center stage, unleashing its full potency on the palate. With martinis, the artistry lies not only in the choice of spirits but also in the meticulous balance between the dry vermouth and the primary liquor. So the next time you order a martini, be sure to specify your desired "wetness." 

Vodka versus gin martini

Vodka versus gin is the ultimate martini showdown. Gin, with its botanical infusion, has been the traditional choice for crafting martinis since the beginning, as it enhances the vermouth and offers a delightful play of herbal flavors. Gin is distinguished from other liquors by the presence of juniper berries, giving it its unique flavor. It's arguably the only way for OG martini drinkers. When it comes to crafting a classic Martini, Adam Pomajzl, the head bartender at Swift & Sons Steakhouse in Chicago, stands firmly in favor of a London Dry gin (via Liquor.com).

But don't count vodka out just yet. Vodka provides much more than a blank canvas. Tristan Willey, the co-founder of the vodka brand GOOD, tells PUNCH, "Nowadays, they actually have some character to bring to the table, and I think people are really embracing that as an idea ... I think the whole world's coming around to the fact that it is a spirit that represents more than just neutrality." Still can't decide? Neither can we. So why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Try a Vesper martini, which combines gin and vodka. That brings this age-old debate to a close. Whether you choose gin or vodka, enjoy your classic martini recipe responsibly.