Alton Brown Is Extremely Picky About His Martinis and We Don't Blame Him One Bit

Spoiler alert: He has specific needs from the temperature of the gin to the number of olives and the texture of the ice in the glass.

Host Alton Brown during judging of Chef Mike Gulotta's dishes, Soy Sauce Octopus Salad with Fresh Tomato Curry with Fried and Grilled Avocado, Charred Octopus with Crispy Potatoes Chorizo Squid Ink Aioli with Tomato Olive Citrus Marmalade, and Paella Negro Risotto, for the Secret Ingredient Showdown, as seen on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Season 1

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

Like a roast chicken or a chocolate chip cookie, a martini is a very personal thing — everyone, and I do mean everyone — has an opinion about how it should be made. (Vodka or gin? Olive juice or neat? Up or on the rocks? Decisions, decisions, amirite?)

Alton Brown, however, is perhaps the chief martini-demand-maker. We caught up with him recently, and the Iron Chef Showdown host revealed the makings of what he called his "ideal martini." Spoiler alert: He has specific needs, from the temperature of the gin to the number of olives and the texture of the ice in the glass.  

First things first, though. Let's talk about the liquor. For Alton, it's gin (and, yes, vermouth, but gin is the important part here). " I generally do 60 milliliters of gin and 20 milliliters of vermouth and 10 milliliters of olive brine," he explains. But believe it or not, the gin isn't the most-essential piece to Alton.

Instead, the absolute key, he adds, is the fact that there must be always three olives and gin that's ice-cold. He recommends keeping the gin right in the freezer. Actually, freezer-level-cold gin is a must, he says. "That’s actually super critical, and everything needs to be as cold as possible."    

Speaking of cold, let's talk ice. Alton skips the shaker, he explained, in favor of his "mixing pitcher." And no, he doesn't just scoop cubes out of a plastic ice mold; there's a three-step process. "I will slosh a little bit of gin around the ice, dump it out and stick the pitcher with the ice with whatever gin is coating it into the freezer for a while," he told us. "What that does is it lowers the melting point of the ice. When you mix your martini, I don’t stir it with a stirrer. I literally just shake the beaker, and you strain it out."

What results from all this, he said, is his ideal martini that's "a little bit dirty" and, of course, just icy enough. "You get those perfect little crystal of ice that naturally form on top of the martini, which I find positively delightful."

(Have you put your gin in the freezer yet? Do it and do it quickly.)

Keep Reading

Next Up

Alton Brown's Best Bets for a Summer Bar

Alton Brown gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, which trends he is totally over and how you can best stock your at-home bar.

Alton's Top 5 Tactics to Make Steak

Learn the best ways to make steak with Alton Brown.

Is Alton's Mango-Cutting Technique Better Than Yours?

Learn how to cut mangoes and use them in unique recipes with Alton Brown.

Mr. Brown to the Rescue: Alton Answers Fans' Holiday Cooking Q&As

Hear from Alton as he answers fans' questions on holiday party prep, and get his tried-and-true recipes you can count on.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Cupcake Wars

10am | 9c

Cake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

3:30pm | 2:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

4:30pm | 3:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

5:30pm | 4:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

6:30pm | 5:30c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beat Bobby Flay

10pm | 9c

Beat Bobby Flay

10:30pm | 9:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

11:30pm | 10:30c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Beat Bobby Flay

1:30am | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30am | 1:30c

Chopped

3am | 2c

Mystery Diners

4:30am | 3:30c

What's Cooking

Latest Stories