Tom's Perfect Martini
This is one of my favorite cocktails that I’ve personally created. Which is ironic, because it was kind of an accident. I threw it together on a whim thinking it would be a tasty Martini riff. But because it was so simple I assumed the recipe already existed in an old cocktail book somewhere wedged between other lesser known Martini variations like the Claridge, Astoria, and Rolls Royce. Turns out that wasn’t the case. While some drinks are very similar (it’s basically a Martinez with a little dry vermouth) there’s nothing out there quite like it. So I did what any humble bartender would do. I claimed the drink as my own, and named it after myself (well sort of, the details are flushed out below).
To be clear, I’m not saying this is the perfect Martini, just a spin a perfect Martini (as in, a split of sweet and dry vermouth ) created by me. That said, I do think it’s pretty damn perfect, I highly recommend it for fans of classic stirred cocktails. It’s sweeter than a traditional Martini but not at all sugary, there's a touch of bitterness, fruit, and citrus, but gin is still very much in the driver’s seat. It’s a great illustration of the flexibility of the Martini template. If you still think putting sweet vermouth in a Martini is blasphemous, let this be the drink that convinces you to commit heresy.
2½ oz gin
¾ oz sweet vermouth
½ oz dry vermouth
dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass. Fill with ice, stir for 15-25 seconds. Then strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.
The Origin Story
As mentioned above, I was not trying to create something new with this drink. And even when I realized it didn’t already exist, I still had no intention of putting it on the menu at Clover Club. At the time, I thought it was too pedestrian - this is back when we thought everything had to be totally original and weird to be menu worthy (I did a lot of experimenting with curry and garam masala spice blends in those days). So at first I just made it for staff as a shift drink here and there. Over time, it gained some adoration amongst my co-workers, to the point that we needed to give it a name. Not wanting to put any effort into it - naming drinks can be the hardest part of the job - it became Tom’s Perfect Martini by default, or TPM, affectionately.
A couple of years later, I was putting Clover Club’s spring menu together and I was a little short on drinks. By then I had changed my tune about what was menu worthy, I just cared about deliciousness. So I gave the Tom's Perfect Martini a shot and put it on, it was an instant hit. It’s still on the menu today. We make it with Tanqueray 10, Del Professore Rosso vermouth, Dolin dry vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, and Bitter Truth Orange bitters. Yum!