The Silver Bullet Kangaroo Vodkatini

To continue with our series on martinis, we delve into the vodkatini. For some reason, vodka began to supplant gin as the Western liquor of choice in the 1960s, and the martini developed along with it. It’s controversial, to be sure. Some insist that it isn’t a martini, some claim it is better than a martini, and some just won’t touch it.

Then try to figure out how much vermouth to put it in and you’re in a jam. Many recipes joke that you put the vermouth in front of a fan and blow it into the glass, meaning, of course, that it doesn’t actually have any vermouth in it.

But where’s the mixing in that drink? It’s just diluted vodka with an olive in it. Me, I follow the traditional dry martini recipe and substitute vodka:

  •  3 oz. vodka (only Tito’s, for me!)
  • 1 dash of dry vermouth
  • one olive

It’s not a dirty martini, so you skimp on the olive, using only one. Since I prefer a dirty martini, the vodkatini isn’t my drink of choice. It’s really just a couple shots of vodka with a splash of vermouth and an olive.

The real problem with the vodkatini is that it uses vodka, a clear, tasteless liquor. That’s the point of vodka, after all. Just reference my dad’s name for vodka: Baptist whiskey. Why? Because it doesn’t make your breath smell like whiskey because it’s odorless and tasteless. Sure, it gets you drunk like anything else, but it doesn’t have the flavor of gin.

Still, there’s something about the vodkatini that’s appealing. Hell, it’s good enough for James Bond, so there’s something to it. A hint of olive, a touch of dryness, with a strength in the back of the throat matched only by the traditional dry gin martini.

You won’t see me making them with any regularity, but if I have a friend (I’m looking at you, Stay at Home Cocktails taster!) who can’t stomach gin, then I’ll make them. Or if I run out of gin and I’m itching for something strong like a martini, then I’ll succumb to it.

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