How To Make The Perfect Martini, According To Science

While James Bond might have helped make the martini a household name, this classic cocktail dates all the way back to the mid-19th century (per Chilled). There are many variations on the drink, but a classic martini recipe really only requires three ingredients — gin, vermouth, and a twist of lemon. The vermouth adds a slightly sweet twist to the herbal, juniper flavors of the gin, creating a strong drink that is best served extra chilled to emphasize the complex, nuanced flavors of the famous beverage.

The martini's origins are not exactly clear. While most historians can agree that it was likely invented around the mid-1800s, who gets credit for creating it is a matter of dispute. Some people believe the martini arrived as a product of the California Gold Rush, when a miner in Martinez, California struck it big and decided to celebrate at the local bar with whatever products they had on hand. These just happened to be vermouth, gin, bitters, and lemon. The drink was deemed the "Martinez Special" and later renamed the "martini," according to Food 52

But are these ingredients those of a perfect martini?

Martinis should be stirred, not shaken

While the martini might have started out as a gin cocktail, some people, like Bond himself, prefer vodka and an olive garnish, rather than gin and lemon. However, science shows that Bond's martinis are not the best version of the drink. Stuart Bale, a mixologist and drink scientist, recently took to the lab to create the perfect martini and, according to science, the results show that its original recipe remains the best one.

Gin has a layered, herbal flavor, which complements and balances the vermouth far better than vodka. "Gin is a blend of flavors and spices, a complex and unique blend for each producer. The same thing happens with vermouth, due to its quantity of ingredients," Bale explained, adding that "striking the balance between the flavors of each liquor" is one key to making the perfect martini (per The Cleveland American). 

Another key step? Mixing and chilling the drink. Bale recommends stirring, rather than shaking, martinis, as shaking can dilute and weaken the drink, leaving it "watery." In fact, most drink experts know when a cocktail should be shaken and when it should be stirred. As a rule of thumb, shake drinks that contain juice, dairy, or eggs, which become more flavorful when shaken up into a froth. 

Finally, Bale explains that the olive garnish adds too much salt to the drink, which can overwhelm the flavor. So while Bond might have been an excellent spy, we'll leave the drink-making to the professional bartenders.