What Does It Mean To Take A Martini Naked?

Effortlessly elegant, the martini is undoubtedly one of the most influential cocktails of all time. And there are so many ways to serve the classic gin- or vodka-based drink. You can take your martini "dry" or "extra dry" by reducing the amount of vermouth. Or, add some olive brine to make it "dirty." Or, combine equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth with your choice of clear spirit to keep it "classic."

But, have you ever taken your martini "naked?" And no, before you ask, it doesn't involve removing any clothing. Rather, it all has to do with how the drink is made, and the proportions of each of the two main ingredients. While a standard dry martini usually features five parts gin (or vodka) to one part vermouth, a naked martini uses a wildly different ratio of thirty parts gin to one part vermouth.

The other thing that sets apart the naked martini, which is also known as a direct martini, is the temperature and technique. The gin is kept in the freezer and is poured directly into a chilled or frozen glass with a tiny amount of vermouth. Unlike James Bond's preferred style, it's neither shaken nor stirred. This makes it a much stronger drink than the regular version, since it contains a larger proportion of gin, and it is not diluted by any ice.

A naked martini is bracingly cold and strong

The history of the martini is often debated, and so too are the exact origins of the naked or direct martini. However, it's a preparation most commonly associated with bartender Salvatore Calabrese, who created the unique serving for a customer at Dukes Bar in London in the 1980s. It's a style the bar still serves today, with gin from a frozen bottle poured into frozen glasses.

While a glass full of pretty much entirely gin might not sound especially appealing, it's the extremely cold temperature of a naked martini that makes it so drinkable. The harsh taste of the alcohol is reduced the colder the drink is, thanks to the way the water and ethanol molecules cluster together and therefore develop a more compact structure, while the chilliness also makes it appear less sweet. The result is a bracingly cold drink that feels refreshing and invigorating rather than overpowering.

A naked martini also differs from a classic dry gin martini in that it is made directly in the glass. There's no need for a cocktail shaker, and there's also no need to add ice, stir the drink, and strain it as you might expect. To achieve the right ratio, you could use a bitter bottle or pipette to add little drops of vermouth onto the gin's surface. Alternatively, rinse the cold glass in vermouth before discarding the liquid, which will leave just the sheerest of coatings before you top it with gin.