The Caorunn Martini

I've only recently become a serious gin drinker. For years I was turned off by the artificial Christmas tree odor that I associated with gin and wouldn't even touch the stuff.

But over the past year, as I've fallen down the rabbit hole of cocktails, I knew that I'd need to give gin another try. The variation in styles and flavors was intriguing and the more I tried, the more I saw how very different each gin was, and I fell in love.

More than just about any other spirit, I find specific gins are made for certain drinks. My general go-to gin at home is Hendricks. It is mild, aromatic, and has a lovely base flavor that I like in many drinks, but not a Martini.

The Martini is somehow the ubiquitous cocktail, but in my experience, it isn't one cocktail. With so few ingredients, one change in spirit or proportions seems to make a very different drink. I make and drink Martinis using several different gin/vermouth combinations (no vodka martinis for me) but each one is different.

So this is not my Martini recipe. I have no singular recipe for all Martinis. This is simply my Caorunn Martini recipe.

First, lets talk about the gin. Caorunn is a small batch Scottish gin infused with five Celtic botanicals: rowan berry, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple. Now I haven't smelled rowan berry or bog myrtle, but to me, Caorunn is a very light, floral, and subtle gin. There's a hint of salty sea-air in the nose that is quite nice and I got no real apple from the gin, despite the distiller claiming apple to be the perfect garnish (kind of like Hendricks and cucumber). The subtlety in flavor makes Caorunn not my favorite gin to mix when you need power, the juniper is so faintly floral it can easily be lost in the mix. Instead, I think Caorunn shines in the Martini so you can really highlight it's delicate and nuanced style.

This means the vermouth that goes with Caorunn also needs to be light and clean. Noilly Prat, one of my favorites, definitely won't work here, but Dolin makes a perfect pair. As to garnish, a single, lovely olive plays off that bit of sea I get in the gin. I have no love of cheap, bitter/salty olives, so I do like to go a bit upscale. I like casteletrano olives. My ratio is 4 parts Caorunn to 1 part Dolin and the result is a clean, refreshing martini that just makes me feel sophisticated.

The Caorunn Martini

Pour the gin and vermouth into a mixing glass with ice cubes.

Stir well. Please don't shake!

Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with olive.


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