Shaken or stirred

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 May, 2005, 12:00am

Raise your glass to a classic tipple

Once considered a drink for older people, the martini is once again the tipple of the day.

The first martini was made by an 18th-century German opera composer, whose recipe was two ounces of Genievre (the original gin from in Belgium), an ounce of Chablis or Rhine wine and a pinch of cinnamon.

James Bond made famous The Vesper - three measures of Gordon's Gin, one of vodka and a half measure of Kina Lillet vermouth, shaken with ice and served in a deep champagne glass with a slice of lemon peel.

The classic martini today has 11/2 ounces of gin and a 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth stirred with ice cubes and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.

Many people now drink a dry martini with no vermouthand served with a twist of lemon peel.

Although it is an acquired taste, another recipe that has become popular is the dirty martini, flavoured with the brine that soaks the olives.

Hong Kong bars have developed variations to cater for a larger range of tastes, including the lychee martini.

Here are three good places to order the classic cocktail:

Martini Bar (The Royal Garden Hotel, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, 27332995) has skilled bartenders who concoct its namesake cocktails. The vodkatini is especially good. Drinks are half price from 4pm to 9pm.

One Fifth (G/F, StarCrest, 9 Star Street, Wan Chai, 2520 2515) serves up a good range of fresh fruit martinis (vodka based) besides the classics.

Q88 (JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2810 8366) serves one of the best dirty martinis in town.

Drop (39-43 Hollywood Road, Central, 2543 8856) has a following that swears by the martinis. The bartenders mix them with confidence.