The Story Behind The The Duke Lemington
It’s easy to hate on the vodka Martini. The progression of ordering one follows a general descent from optimism (James Bond drinks these, why not?) to despair (this is basically just cold vodka). But there are a few simple adjustments to take the vodka Martini from gross to Duke Ellington-level smooth, sultry, and savvy.
First and foremost there’s lemon vodka, which can be either infused at home or store-bought. Ketel One Citroen, New Amsterdam Lemon, and Smirnoff Citrus are among the many retail options available.
Then there are the citrus bitters, which add a layer of complexity to the otherwise basic spirit. Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters work well, as do The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters, but you can also make your own. The rosemary simple syrup cuts the bite with a little sweetness and adds some herbal notes. Finally, there’s the dry vermouth, arguably the most important part of a good Martini. Skip the cheap stuff and go for something higher-quality here. Your palate will thank you.