The Mondano Martini
Why we made what we consider the best Martini!
When not in the photostudio, and especially on the cold Winnipeg winter nights, or hot summer days for that matter…The Mondano Martini evolved from the love of burnt, fine gin Martini’s that Style Hunter Fox and myself both share. Plus if you’ve been following my Instagram account, you may have seen that I can be a bit of #MartiniSnob.
After experimenting for at least 6 months – rating, tasting, and exploration into ideas of how to make it better. Style Hunter Fox found a gin the we both preferred…Williams Extra Dry Fine Gin – more fragrant in juniper than Hendricks…and so smooth! I felt that if we combined the Williams with another gin, we could make the bottle last longer (since it is a topshelf gin that isn’t sold in larger than 750ml bottles)… Discovering Gordon’s and it’s long history of fine distillery, it provided a clean additive. Still not completely satisfied, London No. 1 gin was a favourite choice…plus the added benefit of adding a slight blue tint when mixed.
Originally using vermouth, it was poured into the ice and shaker then shaken to slightly “coat” the materials…and dumped out. Another method, a small spritzer of vermouth over the glasses adding the vermouth at the end. Finally we decided that vermouth wasn’t needed at all and removed it from the recipe.
There was lots to experiment with the “burn”. I like to add a small amount of the burn alcohol to the glass, swirl it to coat the inside of the glass. Traditionally scotch is used, we tried Johnny Walker Red Label, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, then to Crown Royal. Jamison’s Irish Whiskey worked really well and does not distract from Williams. In the end we went with Drambuie…a far cry from scotch or whiskey…but there was a rare time where we didn’t have lemons for the peal, what was in the fridge was grapefruit…Drambuie seemed like it would add a complimentary flavour to flamed grapefruit peal oil…and it was a hit!
The process of making the Mondano Martini
I start by prepping the grapefruit peal, a thin slice with none of the fruit.
The peel is thick enough to produce a healthy squirt of oil to ignite over a flame. Personally, the temperature of the gin and glassware is really important. I prefer to store the shaker, martini glasses, and gin in the freezer (I’d love to try a -30C martini sometime). The idea is that we like the small ice chunks that are formed with the shaking process. However with everything so cold, there is nothing to melt…add in a small amount of water to crushed ice in the shaker before the gin, until these small chunks and crystals are formed. The gin is added, shake again – until your hands hurt from the cold (this “bruises” the gin and if you want to read why this might be ok, here is a cool article on that), prep the glasses with the burning process, prep the grapefruit zest, shake the gin again, and pour into the glasses, every last drop! Then ignite the oil from the lemon peel…it makes a bit of a show but really activates the flavours from the peal oil.
From there I expect the glass to be slightly uncomfortable to hold with the stem but not impossible – due to the cold. However indoors you have the first 5 min to enjoy a super cold beverage, then about 10 min of just a cool drink…but we wouldn’t want our lips stuck to the glass right?!
If you think there should be a video for how to make this, comment below!