Tonight I was surprised to see Tanqueray Rangpur Gin at my local ABC store.  Experiment time!

In the final distillation step, rangpur limes are added to the gin which creates a strong lime flavor. The flavor is more complex, however, when compared to most other flavored spirits that add flavors after distillation.  This Tanqueray’s alcohol content is slightly decreased–82 proof versus Dry’s and Ten’s 94.

In my first attempt, I created my typical martini as I previously described in my rookie martini post.  The dry vermouth did very little to change the much stronger lime-flavored gin.  In fact, the vermouth added too much additional sweetness.  I had assumed that my normal olives would not work well; however, the hint of salt and oil added by the olives improved the drink quite nicely.  A citrus twist added nothing.

So my martini of choice with the Tanqueray Rangpur Gin will be straight gin, shaken, and with an olive. 

I also like half rangpur and half Bombay using less vermouth than normally.  The rangpur highlights the natural citrus flavors of the Bombay.  The mixture cuts some of the lime power for a more subtle martini.  Over ice, the Rangpur holds well in solo although I felt it needed something salty to partner with it.  Maybe it’s my brain trained to relate limes to margaritas…

I am assuming that this new gin in will be used in a wide variety of mixed drinks.  For me, however, when used correctly it makes a very nice martini all on its own.

AKA: How to Help Somebody Lose their Martini Virginity

For over a year now, a martini has been my routine drink.  I still love a large selection of adult beverages, but the martini has now usurped beer as my default.

When making one of these special drinks for one of my martini-novice friends, the bond request of “shaken, not stirred” is frequently tossed out.  This is not a bad thing, for most rookie martini drinkers will prefer the shaken martini.  In fact, the best novice martini is expensive, wet, dirty, and shaken…

A martini is a mixture of gin (or vodka), vermouth, and olives. 

Let’s start with a classic recipe:

  • 3 oz of gin
  • 1/2 oz of dry vermouth

Place both in a shaker filled with ice and shake.  Pour over a chilled glass containing an olive.

Expensive:  The taste of the martini is the taste of the gin.  Top shelf gin tastes better.  Fat, stuffed olives taste better.  All the balance in the world will not overcome problems with the drink’s foundation.   People will debate the best gin but it really comes down to personal preference.  Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray are both excellent choices.

Dry/Wet:  The drier the martini the less vermouth is will contain.  For example, one way to make a ”dry martini” would be to place the vermouth in the shaker with the ice and shake to coat the ice.   Then by draining the vermouth from the shaker before adding the gin, a nice trace of the vermouth is left.  Many novices ask for a martini dry and do not get enough vermouth to balance the drink. 

Dirty:  As a southern boy, I know anything tastes better salty.  As more vermouth makes it easier to tolerate the gin, a little extra olive juice will as well.  If your rookie loves olives, then making it a little dirty is a no brainer.

Shaken versus Stirred:  The small amount of ice that melts into the drink during the mixing process is a vital step in the flavor of the drink.  Typically, a shaken drink will develop a few small ice shards that will liberate more water into the drink.  The shaking will also make the drink colder.  These qualities of the shaking process will make the drink more martini virgin friendly.

Now, the shaken drink will not be as pretty.  The ice shards and the bruising of the gin from the introduction of air during the process makes the drink less attractive.  Most rookies will not care.

Making a martini colder and introducing water is vital to the drink for newbies and pros alike.  This is why recipes calling for stirring frequently mandate long stir times of over 15 seconds.

Conclusion:  If somebody tells you that they don’t like martinis because they taste like pine trees, it is because they have had a cheap, dry, amateur martini in the past.  By introducing the drink correctly, you have a good chance of making someone a martini fan for life.