Within weeks of its meteoric rise to the center of the pop cultural zeitgeist, the Quarantini remains a nebulous thing. There are those who believe it can be anything you want it to be, including concoctions built on ice cream or Emergen-C—stretching the already dubious ‘tini template into unchartered territory. The opposing camp, meanwhile, maintains that a true Quarantini must conform to the Martini template.
While the latter might seem unduly restrictive at first glance, the Martini blueprint can be easily stretched to accommodate just about any preference, from low-proof and floral, to boozy and murderously dry. So, may we suggest that if you plan to make yourself a Quarantini, make it a Martini?
In his Means of Preservation, for example, bartender John Gersten takes the familiar two-to-one ratio of gin to modifier, but splits the dry vermouth quotient with St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Finished with two dashes of celery bitters, the drink offers a fresh, grassier interpretation of the typically dry formula.
Perhaps the most common modification to the Martini recipe, however, is the addition of sherry. When it takes the place of dry vermouth, the Martini drifts towards Tuxedo territory, as in Thomas Waugh’s pre-batched and pre-chilled version for The Bar in New York. In Chip Tyndale’s Orchid Thief, meanwhile, sherry plays the starring role, taking the place of gin altogether, while a splash of Bénédictine adds subtle spice to this low-proof alternative. You wouldn’t exactly call it a Martini, but it is undoubtedly cut from the cloth.
Even within the classic two-ingredient recipe of gin and dry vermouth variation abounds. Meaghan Dorman’s Gibson, for example, showcases the outsize impact of a house-pickled cocktail onion. While the Duke’s Martini takes a more austere approach. With just a few dashes of dry vermouth topped by four ounces of ice-cold gin (or vodka) straight from the freezer, it’s the classic cocktail’s most rugged, no-fucks-given iteration. In other words, it’s the perfect Quarantini.