We’re calling it: 2023 is the year of the Martini. The classic cocktail is dominating drinks lists around Australia. Drinks Digest asked The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar and Tiva Director of Bar Jonothan Carr for the lowdown on its resurgence and his secrets for creating the perfect serve.
Carr aims to provide table service with a dash of understated theatre for the Martinis he serves at both venues. His Tequila Martini with rose vermouth is shaken and poured tableside, while the Espresso Martini is created in an elaborate French press.
Carr (above) said Martinis are consistently among the bars’ top selling drinks. They are so popular that his next cocktail menu will have a whole section dedicated to them.
He believes that as people choose to drink less but better, the Martini makes a wonderful choice. Carr has also found guests are more knowledgeable about spirits than ever – they know what their favourite vodka or gin is and they want to enjoy it in a beverage that lets it shine.
This increase in spirit appreciation led him to create the Charles Martini, which arrives at the table at the Charles Bar incredibly cold, with several garnish options for the guests to make it their own.
Carr serves the Charles Martini a deconstructed format to ensure that no matter whether a guest sits in front of the bartender or are in the private dining room, their Martini will be served as cold as possible.
He has even imported Japanese Chilled Sake decanters, which allow him to fill a section with ice and keep the frozen martini cold on its journey to customers.
“The garnishes would freeze so we keep them in the fridge and serve them on the side over crushed ice,” Carr said.
“Apart from being visually appealing, this gives the beverage the best chance at being sipped as cold as we possibly can.”
Carr believes that by giving the guest the chance to choose when they zest the drink or add an olive and pickled onion while dropping in their perfect amount of salty brine, they have the opportunity to create their own ritual of enjoying their martinis.
“The Charles Martini takes all the fuss out of ordering a Martini,” Carr said. “Simply choose your spirit and it arrives incredibly cold and with several garnish options for the guests to make it their own.”
He compares it to reading a Goosebumps novel when you were growing up, it means you can choose your own Martini adventure.
Creating the perfect Martini at home
When making a Martini at home, Carr said quality ingredients, dilution, temperature and the garnish are all key elements to creating the perfect serve.
He believes the perfect Martini is the sum of its parts.
“An amazing vodka or gin deserves a quality vermouth and perfect dilution …. and a dash of orange bitters is a nice touch,” Carr said.
“Temperature is important, it should be as cold as you can possibly serve it so keep it in the freezer if you can. As such, If you’re garnishing with olives, keep them chilled or leave them on the side. A room temperature olive dumped into a cold Martini equals a room temperature Martini.
Carr also keeps his glasses and spirit in the bar’s freezer at minus 19 degrees celcius.