London Living with an Alternative Twist!



The dry vodka martini, shaken not stirred; perhaps the most iconic cocktail of all time. However, the drink isn’t to everyone’s liking. That’s why expert mixologist-come-scientist, Stuart Bale from Strangehill has worked with Gin Mare (pronounced mar-ray) to create the recipe for ‘The Perfect Martini’.

Bond was a master of many things; an icon for many generations, famous for his impeccable taste, yet Bale’s research revealed his taste in martinis was flawed. Here’s what was wrong and the four key principles to making a martini the way it should be:

Gin Mare - The Perfect Martini 2


“Thisis wrong”, explains Bale. “Shaking and stirring serve two purposes, both chill and dilute. Shaking cools the drink, however it over dilutes and will leave watery. As much as 10% extra water is added by shaking instead of stirring, therefore to enjoy the flavours of a gin martini stirring is the only way.”

“A perfect martini should taste like ‘exquisite water’. The most difficult aspect of mixing a martini is getting the balance between the flavours in each spirit, and actual alcohol. Gin is a mix of flavours, and spices, a complex blend unique to each producer. Vermouth is the same, perhaps more complex, due to its number of ingredients, wine base, and lower alcohol content.”


Gin provides the foundation of a good martini as its layers of botanicals help to balance out the vermouth. In comparison vodka does not have this complexity of structure and in turn does not mix well with vermouth.

With Bond adding vodka to his martini the flavour was being masked as the drink was also being diluted by the shaken ice. “Using a gin, such as Gin Mare with it’s unusual flavour profile opens up an array of notes not possible in a vodka martini, creating a flavoursome twist attributed to the four unique botanicals of Gin Mare.”


Don’t settle for what’s at the bottom of an olive jar to accompany a martini. Adding a marinated or stuffed olive will mask the flavour of the spirit base of the martini, another reason not to include when looking to enjoy the flavours of a craft gin you’ve ordered. For the martini. Bale explains why an olive was favoured originally, “It has long been known that salt works as a flavour enhancer. Our bodies crave salt but it also reduces the surface tension of liquids, allowing more aromatic compounds to escape and our perception of aromas to increase. For the ultimate martini experience add a drop or two of salt solution, therefore releasing the flavours without masking the taste.”


That is the question. Although it’s a complete no using an olive, that’s not to say there isn’t a more suitable garnish for a martini. With a softer, sweeter flavour, a whole strawberry or twist of lemon or orange can particularly complement the gin base of the cocktail.


Looking to complement Gin Mare’s four principle botanicals of olive, basil, thyme and rosemary, Bale used a scientific process known as Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) to analyse the flavour chemicals of the premium Mediterranean gin, Gin Mare and three leading vermouths. This process revealed the prominent aroma compounds of Gin Mare and the vermouths and in turn revealed the perfect accompaniment/garnish for the serve. Having analysed thousands of chemicals present in the gin and vermouths Bale discovered those that correlated most frequently, were: 2,5 Dimethyl – 4-hydroxy-3(2H) Furanone, an organic compound found in strawberries.

Therefore we introduce the The Perfect Martini, a classic gin martini stirred not shaken, paired with a whole succulent strawberry and drop of salt solution.

Why not attempt making your own Perfect Martini, following the recipe below:

The Perfect Martini Recipe


50ml Gin Mare

25ml Lillet Blanc

0.5ml salt solution*

1 small whole strawberry


Add all ingredients to a metal mixing tin filled with ice. Stir for between 20-30 seconds, until the drink is chilled and diluted appropriately. Taste using a straw, until ready and strain into a chilled, stemmed or coupe cocktail glass.


Half a strawberry on cocktail stick

*Salt solution

20g Sea salt, dissolved in 100ml water

Or if you’re out and about in London,The Perfect Martini will be available exclusively at The Shrub & Shutter, Brixton

1 comments so far.

One response to “THE PERFECT MARTINI?!”

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m going to have to give this a try, love a good martini!

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