The Perfect Vodka Martini – 26-Mar-2021


The other day, I posted about an encounter involving vodka martinis and sword swallowing old birds.

Two swallows having the perfect vodka martini

Some of you were picking up what I was laying down.

You people are my people.

You get me.

I’ve also posted about my personal affinity for bourbon, because let’s face it, bourbon is really frickin’ delicious.

Knob creek does not make the perfect vodka martini, but it is damn good bourbon.

I’m going to test drive Knob Creek this evening. It’s been a while, and it feels like I’m going to get reacquainted with an old friend.

Knob Creek is a damn good bourbon, if anyone out there is wondering.

It’s been mentioned, a time or two, that, once upon a time, I was a bartender in Houston, TX.

Houston, TX skyline at night.

Sometimes, that lifetime feels like 281 million years ago.

As far as that time of my life goes, the fact that I was the flippin’ Crazy Train conductor with that maxed-out locomotive flying darn near off of the rails has also been ever-so-innocently slid into the boring details.

Crazy train locomotive.  All aboard!

I’m not quite sure what the collective weight of the State of Texas actually is, but, in the 90’s, I am quite certain that I drank whatever that number is, IN VODKA, and then some.

These days, I rarely drink vodka.

Good polish vodka makes the perfect vodka martini

You do what works for you.

Do what you love in a white neon sign

Since vodka’s been mentioned, let’s talk about the perfect vodka martini, shall we?

Solo perfect vodka martini

Martinis were making a comeback in the late 90’s, right along with chicks sucking and puffing on flavored cigars.

(There’s an awesome mental image for you!)

Old brown woman sucking on a cigar

(Sorry about that one. I couldn’t resist!)

Grunge music saturated the radio and that pole-smoking hack, Pauly Shore, was, most likely, getting laid more often than fresh sod in a newly-constructed neighborhood.

The 90’s — what I remember of them — were fantastic.

Car's dashboard with cassette player and cassette being inserted.

And, all of a sudden, everybody was loving them some martinis.

martini glass with contents spilling, I hope it's not the perfect vodka martini

As a high-volume bartender, I had become really good at shaking the shit out of a martini in one hand, while I was sliding a long neck down the bar, and swooping up a tip with the other hand.

Martinis are jacked nine ways to Sunday now.

the perfect vodka martini does not have an orange wedge on it.

Don’t give me the sideways, slant eye.

Woman with scrunched up face.  She needs a perfect vodka martini

You gotta go poop?


There are martinis with raspberries in them and chocolate martinis and pineapple, apple, mint and grapefruit martinis.

cocktails in martini glasses, might be vodka.

These aren’t martinis, people.

martini glass with clear liquid and raspberries.

They’re cocktails, calling themselves a martini.

Just because it’s made with vodka and served in a martini glass, doesn’t make it a martini.

Looks like a cosmo with pineapple hanging off of the side.

The aforementioned cocktails are delicious.

Believe me, I’ve tried them all.

Dessert drink of some type.  Not a perfect vodka martini

The perfect vodka martini is simple, which is what makes it so delicious and equally deadly.

martini glass being filled with clear liquid, might be vodka

It. Is. Straight. Booze.

In the 90’s, my blood alcohol level probably stayed around 20%, and if I had five or six martinis, I was lit. Once I got past six of them, my conductor cap got flipped backwards, and it was going to be one helluva night.

Four martini glasses

I say all of that to convey that I know of that of which I speak (write).

We should note that booze — particularly, flavored vodkas — has made an amazing evolution from the 90’s to present day.

There is birthday cake flavored vodka, and apple flavored whiskey!

Pink birthday cake

Need I say more?

I think not.


Pretty much, every kind of flavor has been infused into booze, and it’s downright divine.

Absolute vodka is absolutely a good vodka to make the perfect vodka martini

That said, today’s “mixologists” are uber creative and have crafted some hella-delicious cocktails.

Back bar of some bar or restaurant

But they’re not the perfect vodka martini.

You need 6 things to create the perfect vodka martini:

  • Chilled martini glass
  • Ice
  • Quality vodka
  • Dry, light vermouth
  • Strainer (Optional, if you know how to use the top of the shaker as a strainer)
  • Garnish: Olives or a lemon twist.

That’s it.

Here’s the secret to making the perfect vodka martini:

Get your ice in the shaker tin and add 1/4 shot of vermouth. Put the top of the shaker on tightly, and shake it like you’re spanking it for a good 45 seconds, if not longer.

Shaker, shot glass and strainer

Remove the top of shaker.


Dump it out!

All of it.

The key here is that you want a hint — just a whisper — of the vermouth left in the shaker, and all of that shaking of the ice and vermouth together, coated the shaker with the vermouth, while chilling the shaker, in preparation for the vodka.

Vermouth sign

It’s vodka time!

Three sixty vodka, diamond filtered, is the perfect vodka martini vodka

Add the vodka.

This is no time to act like your wrist hurts.

Woman in sparkly dress


Keep pouring…

And then pour some more.

Add enough ice to fill almost to the rim of the of the bottom shaker.

So, you’ve got your heavy pour of vodka, your whisper of vermouth and butt load of ice in your shaker.

up close shot of ice cubes

Put the top on and shake it until your rotator cuff let’s you know you’re alive — at least a minute.

Shake it, Baby! Shake!

copper shaker

Remove the top, add the strainer and pull your martini glass out of the chiller/freezer.

Strain that beautiful vodka into the glass, leaving 1/2″ from the top.

cocktails being made and strained from strainer

Add your garnish.

If you’re going with the twist, make sure your run the rim of the glass with the lemon before you twist it and add it to the drink.

3.5 lemons

Or…spear you some olives on one of those little swords and toss it in the martini glass.

The bigger and the juicer, the better.

Olive bar.  YUM!

(That’s what she said!)

Of course, there are variations to suit different palates and preferences.

This is your basic, perfect vodka martini recipe, and you can’t go wrong.

More tomorrow,


Restart. Refocus. Reinvent.

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