Smoky Martini Cocktail

Smoky Martini

By Timo Torner / Last updated on July 20, 2022 
The Smoky Martini is a riff on the Martini that adds peated Scotch Whisky. A beautiful way to spice up the classic Dry Martini recipe.

The Smoky Martini is a widespread twist on the classic Martini recipe served since the 70s. 

In an interview, legendary bartender Dale DeGroff aka. Cocktail King confirmed that he served Smoky Martinis regularly during this time.

Ingredients of the Smoky Martini

The twist on a Dry Gin Martini replaces Dry Vermouth with peated Islay Scotch.

It also changes the ratios because smoky Scotch has considerably more flavor than a Dry Vermouth. After all, you don't want to overpower the Gin completely.

Which Scotch to use

Making a great Scotch Martini is not about being a skilled bartender. Here, using the right, high-quality ingredients is the key to perfecting this elegant pre-dinner drink.

For this, the choosing the right type of Scotch matters immensely. Many recipes use Dewar’s blended Scotch, while a more peaty Scotch like Laphroaig or even Lagavulin 16 makes for a distinctively smoky taste.

Best Gin in a Scotch Martini

As Gin is the main ingredient in this cocktail, is just as important. With so many types of Gin, it can be hard to decide.

In a Martini, a Dry Gin or London Dry Gin is always a good choice. My preferred Gins for a Smoky Martini cocktail are either Rutte Dry Gin or the Botanist Gin.

Especially if you want to make the cocktail all Scottish, opt for the Botanist. This Gin is from Islay, just like the Whiskies from Laphroaig and Lagavulin.

The history of the Smoky Martini

Smoky Martinis have been a frequent serve, at least since the 70s. However, rumors indicate that the drink could be significantly older.

The novel Harlot’s Ghost, based on a real-life character, suggests that the main character and CIA Agent William King Harvey drank this concoction already in the 1950s.

As CIA Agent Harvey was running an operation in West Berlin at the beginning of the 1950s, the drink was named the Berlin Station Chief (at least in the book). 

Yet, there is no proof that the drink existed in real life back then. The author might as well just have made it up. - Which still would make him potentially the first to have come up with the idea of the Smoky Martini.

The taste of the Smoky Martini

The Smoky Martini is richer and more flavorful than a classic Dry Martini. The addition of Scotch not only adds a smoky note to the drink but adds depth and sophistication to the cocktail.

Using the right ratios of peated Islay Scotch and Gin, the smoky notes of the Whisky harmonize beautifully with botanicals in Gin.

The perfect ratios in a Smoky Martini

A typical recommendation for a Dry Martini is 5 parts Gin and 1 part Dry Vermouth. Applying the same ratio in a Smoky Martini would ruin the drink for most drinkers.

Peated Scotch should be used carefully in mixed drinks in general; -But in a Martini, it's even more important. With just two ingredients, the balance has to be just right.

I recommend using 0.5 parts of Scotch per 5 parts Gin. That is only half the amount of Dry Vermouth but trust me, it's enough in this case.

Smoky Martini cocktail with olive garnish

Smoky Martini

A smoky twist on the classic Dry Martini made with Scotch Whisky.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gin, scotch
Servings: 1
Calories: 213kcal
Cost: $3.30

Ingredients

  • 2.5 oz Dry Gin
  • 0.25 oz Peated Scotch
  • Lemon peel or olives (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Pour Gin and Scotch into a Mixing glass filled with ice.
  • Stir until the drink is well-chilled, and then strain into a Martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon peel or twist.

Nutrition

Serving: 3oz | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.008g | Sodium: 1.6mg | Potassium: 0.08mg | Sugar: 0.008g
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