The Classic Gin Cocktail Rachael Ray's Husband John Always Makes Her

Almost every celebrity chef has an opinion about cocktails, and as someone who loves a good drink, you know Rachael Ray has some feelings here too. Bobby Flay loves a negroni sbagliato, and Ina Garten can't stand cocktails that aren't made to be shared, but Ray is a gin girl. In fact, Ray takes the juniper spirit seriously enough that she's planning on launching her own line — called Staple Gin — in the near future.

Ray is also lucky enough to have a husband, John Cusimano, who loves to mix up cocktails with her. In addition to being a lawyer, actor, and musician by trade, he has produced a lot of original cocktail recipes for Ray's programs, and he worked together with her on coming up with the flavor profile for their new gin. But when it comes to mixing a drink for Ray herself, her husband sticks to a classic: a gin martini.

Tasting Table recently spoke to Ray at NYC Wine and Food Fest's Burger Bash, and when talking about her new business, she told us that her favorite request from her husband was a simple martini. Ray says her husband's martini is made "with Castelvetrano olives, and he puts in orange bitters. He just makes a fantastic martini." Of course, she also added that as far as her new brand and martinis go, "This gin is great for it!"

A classic gin martini can handle plenty of variations

Even for a classic drink with just a few basic ingredients like a martini, there are a lot of subtle ways to mix things up and make it your own. John Cusimano's recipe and Rachael Ray's new gin, which is infused with olives for a slightly briny flavor, would produce something close to a dirty martini. If you order a basic gin martini these days, you'd likely only get gin and dry vermouth with a garnish of lemon peel or olive, but the orange bitters that Ray's husband uses are a bit of a nod to the martini recipes of the early 20th century, which included both the bitters and a small amount of sugar to temper the gin taste.

Everyone is going to have their own favorite martini variation, from the 50-50 blend of vermouths and alcohol that make up the "perfect" martini to the simple onion garnish of the Gibson. The main thing to remember is that no matter how you make it, a martini is a pretty strong cocktail with a very alcohol-forward flavor, so a good bottle of gin is essential. And like Ray's husband did, learning how to use bitters and their aromatic properties can be a great way to elevate a martini without changing its fundamental nature and appeal. The martini is a classic for a reason, and it pays to find your own personal go-to.