World Martini Day: The Connaught Bar shares its lesson for the perfect one

Input and output do not always correlate; white light shone through a prism becomes violet, indigo, green and yellow, orange, blue and red.

The martini is bartending’s prism. In gin, vodka and vermouth, and perhaps bitters, there is a kaleidoscope of flavour. Ratios differ, as does dilution; two martinis may be made with the exact same ingredients, and come out entirely unalike.

The Ellis martini is this: a strong splash of extra dry vermouth, followed by gin and vodka in equal measure, poured straight from the freezer. The entire thing is built in the glass, and this glass should be from the freezer too. Lemon is forgone in favour of a peel of orange. It is close to a Vesper but not the same (the Vesper’s mix of gin and vodka is measured in thirds; mine is exactly in half). It is, as you might anticipate, as strong as a boxer, or what friends of mine sometimes call a mind blanker.


But my method is not the only one, and I learnt a long time ago to replace my recipe with trust when in the hands of the Connaught Bar’s Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani. The pair trade in refinement, in ever-correcting and adjusting, in perfecting. A Connaught martini is unlike any other, and distinct enough to be tasted blind and happily recognised. Pierce Brosnan prefers their take to his too, says Perrone.

With the help of former Connaught bar manager Maura Milia, Bargiani and Perrone used their hard-earned expertise to author the hotel’s first cocktail book, The Connaught Bar – Recipes and Iconic Creations. It is a beautiful thing. In it are 100 recipes, plenty of tips, and lots of stories too. Perrone has a gentle touch; these are easily-followed ideas.

It was this gentle touch he used to teach me his way with a martini; my usual is thuggish compared to his. As the video shows, his takes time, thought, a deft hand. Accordingly, it is a soft and easy-drinking, not decriptions often given to martinis. He puts in the work and it shows. Input and output do not always correlate — but in this case, they do.

The Connaught Bar Book, published by Phaidon, is £29.95 and available now. For more information, please visit