Icy Fingers

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IcyFingers

I had read about freezing martinis and thought it would be fun to try.  Frozen martinis are nothing new, but my various recipes turned into an interesting experiment.  Just to set things straight, a “frozen martini” is not a slushie like a “frozen margarita.”  It is a batched martini, placed in a bottle and put in the freezer.

So, why freeze a martini?  Well, a frozen martini is colder than ice and bone dry with a silky-smooth mouth feel.  As the temperature of a drink decreases, so do the flavors of sweet, sour, and bitter, while the taste of salt or brininess increases.  Herbal and floral flavors also change with some increasing and others decreasing. These changes can be amazing – both good and bad!  More on that in a minute.

Classic Dry Martini with olives on black background. CopyspaceBatching cocktails makes sense for events, pop-ups and even when entertaining at home. The ability to pour a craft cocktail from a bottle really helps when you are “in the weeds” bartending.  It’s also nice at home when you would like a little more but don’t want to make a whole martini.

There are a couple of caveats. First is your freezer. Even if you have a commercial freezer, you need to have a freezer thermometer. The temperature needs to remain stable at around 50 F.  A temperature of 00 – 70 F will allow you to serve a cocktail at 25%-30% ABV.  Prior to attempting to freeze your martinis you need to measure your freezer’s temperature at various times of the day.  It will probably be coldest in the morning when it hasn’t been opened.  The coldest temperature is the one you will use to calculate your batches’ ABV.

The second caveat is that liquids lowered to subfreezing temperatures tend to form ice. There are a few things you can do to make this occur less often.

Martini cocktail on counter bar.

  • Keep the ABV close to 30%. This will give you a little margin of error.
  • Shake the bottle really well to thoroughly mix your batch before freezing.
  • Avoid bumping or jarring the bottle once it’s frozen.
  • Use a screw cap or cage top bottle. Don’t use a bottle with a cork.  Removing the cork will create a slight vacuum in the bottle.  Enough to turn the batch to ice.

When your batch does ice, (and it will happen), just set it on the bar and let it warm up.  Add a little gin and refreeze the batch.

When selecting your gin, I recommend a London Dry.  At least choose something that is not overly herbal or floral.  I’ve settled on Botanist.  The subtle salinity really works when frozen.  For an example of what doesn’t work, I tried Gompers Gin.  I really like Gompers.  It makes a great Martini or G&T.  But there is a subtle flavor of pear in Gompers that when frozen, overwhelms every other flavor.  So much for that batch.

House Martini SignOur recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Botanist Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Bianco Vermouth
  • Short dash Olive Bitters

For a 500 ml Batch with a freezer set to 50 F, this calculates to:

  • 300 ml Gin
  • 50 ml Dry Vermouth
  • 50 ml Bianco Vermouth
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 dashes Olive Bitters

Use this spread sheet to calculate your batch volumes:  ABV Batch Freeze Calc

A 20% dilution will make the drink a little strong but allows you to freeze it without icing.  The spread sheet’s freezing calculation is only accurate for an ABV of 20% – 34%.  It uses the fact that the freezing point of alcohol is a strait line in that ABV range.

Lastly, remember to freeze your glassware!

To serve:

  1. Pour desired volume of Frozen Martini into a frozen cocktail glass
  2. Garnish with olives

Cheers!

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