Why You Should Chill The Olives For Your Next Martini

The martini is a bit of a paradox; it's simultaneously the simplest of cocktails and also the one that generates the most controversy. It's widely acknowledged that the first martini was made with gin and vermouth, though the modern martini can be made with either gin or vodka, based merely on which spirit you prefer. Martinis tend to evoke powerful feelings on decisions like gin or vodka, how much vermouth to use, whether the cocktail should be shaken or stirred, and the best choice for a garnish.

Cocktails & Bars outlines the common options for a classic martini garnish, beginning with olives — the most suitable of which, according to the site, is the Sicilian olive. You may also encounter martinis garnished with a twist of lemon (with the bitter pith removed, of course), a pickled onion (which makes the martini a Gibson), other citrus peels (like orange or grapefruit), oysters, caper berries, and cornichons. While you should feel free to experiment with your martini garnishes, there's one step that can make your olive-garnished martini definitively better.

A martini is all about keeping it cool

Mental Floss has a complaint about martinis served with olives: "While olives may have the iconic martini look, they're often served at room temperature and can therefore heat up your drink—a big no-no." That's a fair critique, given that many martinis are made with the additional step of chilling the glass they're served in, all to preserve the ideal temperature. Wine Enthusiast, for example, recommends keeping cocktail glasses in the freezer or using a combination of crushed ice and soda water to chill your drinking vessel.

If you're an olive-lover, however, Sipsmith Gin has the ideal solution: Store your olives in the fridge so you don't warm up your perfectly mixed martini. As for which type of olive you should choose, you're not limited by what you find in jars on the supermarket shelf. In fact, Food & Wine suggests foregoing the shelf and perusing the olive bar for fresher and more delicious options like enormous Cerignola or nutty Castelvetrano olives. Just make sure they're chilled!