My thoughts on gin and vodka cocktails

Just because I know you care, here’s my thoughts on gin and vodka cocktails, coming from a discussion last night at a bar.

  1. Gin and tonic is a better drink than a vodka tonic
  2. Vodka martinis are better than gin martinis
  3. Vodka martinis should be served up, with a twist. Olives never!
  4. Gin and Tonic is a summer time cocktail only.

Agree with me?

I’m not a big fan of gin, but I’m also not big on vodka (despite being born to Polish parents.) Here are my opinions:

  1. Absolutely. I don’t know what it is about these two drinks (gin & tonic water), but I’m not much a fan of them separately, but together they transform each other into greatness. It’s positively alchemical (although it also requires the lime to tie everything together.) Vodka tonics just tastes like tonic water with alcohol to me, which is not terribly appealing.

  2. No. Once again, not big on gin, but at least it has character. Absurdly dry martinis hold no appeal to me. But something in the range of 4:1 to 2:1 gin:vermouth, that works. There’s a lot of flavors going on there, it’s interesting. With vodka? It just tastes like strong vermouth.

  3. No opinion, as I don’t get vodka martinis.

  4. I don’t know about “only,” but, yes, I associate it strongly with summer and warm weather.

One out of four ain’t bad, I guess.

Gin and tonics beat vodka anything.
Super dry martinis are the best thing since sliced bread.
Summer, winter, spring and fall, they do taste better in heat or after a few hours of woodworking or other thirsty work :slight_smile:

My thoughts are that vodka drinks that were intended that way- Cosmopolitan, Moscow Mule, Bloody Mary, to name a few, are fine.

However, replacing the intended spirit (usu. gin) in a drink with vodka is the mixed drink equivalent of drinking white zinfandel. It’s entirely the province of people who want to drink alcohol, but are too sissified to drink the real thing

My answers:

  1. Vodka tonic is a mostly stupid drink; if you’re going to drink vodka, why not drink it with something that tastes good- like a vodka & 7up? Gin & Tonic has some sort of very strange synergistic thing that makes it more than the sum of its parts, but a vodka tonic is just alcoholic tonic water…which is mostly nasty on its own.

  2. I’m not a martini fan- not because I don’t like gin, but because I don’t like vermouth. That said, a gin martini has more going on than a vodka one, and a really dry vodka martini is just a pretentious way to drink a shot of vodka.

  3. I have no idea… you could serve it with a cigarette butt for all I care.

  4. Gin and tonics are typically a warm weather drink, but nothing says you can’t have one in January if that’s what revs your engine. Just use good gin and good tonic (like Fever Tree)

My thoughts?

If there had never been a vodka martini, the world might well have been spared the detestable state where anything that’s served in an inverted cone on a stem gets to be called a martini.

A martini is a cocktail which consists of gin and vermouth. It is served with an olive. A green olive, stuffed with pimiento, on a toothpick.


Also, Gin & Tonic is good any time of the year; we have them even when it’s -10 out.

Speaking of -10, one very good thing about the Polar Vortex this year is that it made very, very good martinis when you stored your gin out on the deck. I actually almost freeze- burned my lips one lovely night. It was worth it.

Gin and tonic, never vodka. I prefer Bombay for this drink.

A martini is made with gin, period, with perhaps a breath of vermouth. I prefer Beefeaters and very dry.

I like G&T regardless of weather.

Vodka is only fit for hobos and sorority girls.


If you say you like dry martinis and you mean you prefer them with dry vermouth, great. If you say you like dry martinis and you mean gin over ice, whatever you say Martha.

Depends. I can’t stand the taste of gin. I keep trying to like it and take sips of other people’s drinks, only to make a face and say, “nope, still don’t like it.” So, vodka it remains. Sorry.

Vodka tastes like morning breath smells. Gin is a lovely aromatic, unless you’re drinking something skanky like Gilbey’s.

  1. Gin and tonic is a better drink than a vodka tonic. Correct. Though vodka will do if there’s no gin about.

  2. Vodka martinis are better than gin martinis. Incorrect. The only martini is gin and vermouth (in the old-school 3-1 proportions, if you please) with an olive.

  3. Vodka martinis should be served up, with a twist. Olives never! Incorrect. Vodka in a glass is just vodka. No martinis are involved.

  4. Gin and Tonic is a summer time cocktail only. It’s always summer with a G&T in hand.

  1. Alcohol.

G&Ts should be close to 1:1. I like three ounces of gin to four ounces of tonic. Also, a good squeeze of lime (not just that little wedge) really peps it up without overriding the characteristics of either the gin or tonic.

All my martinis are Gibson’s as I really don’t like olives. Cocktail onions are fantastic if you make your own. There’s not a decent cocktail onion on the market: don’t bother. If you have the nerve to take your own jarred DIY cocktail onions to a cocktail bar, you will be in for quite a conversation. Buy the bartender a round and let him try one.

Here’s the goods:

1 pound, pearl onions - meticulously peeled
1/2 cup, sherry vinegar or white vinegar
1/2 cup, cider vinegar
1/2 cup, water
1/2 cup, salt
1/4 cup, sugar
1/2 teaspoon, mustard seed
24 juniper berries (HARD TO FIND locally - Penzey’s has them)
12 peppercorns
6 allspice berries
1 rosemary branch or 1 teaspoon, dried rosemary
1 dried chile pepper
1 cup, dry vermouth

Add all of the remaining ingredients except the vermouth to a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the onions to the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool in the liquid. Stir in the vermouth. Transfer the cooled onions and liquid to a Ball jar. Store in the refrigerator.

The layers of flavor a single onion adds to the martini is insane. You can’t go back to any other garnish.

I like my Gibsons 5:1 gin:vermouth.

Speaking of gin, am I the only person who’s noticed that Bed, Bath & Beyond stores are particularly redolent of juniper berries?

  1. Yes, absolutely. I didn’t try G&T until I was 28 or something because while I liked gin, tonic water was gross. Put them together and something magical happens.

  2. No. It doesn’t bother me if someone likes a Vodka Martini, but it is a bit more worrisome that it’s becoming the default. But pray tell why is vodka better?

  3. Yes/sorta. I agree that green olives are gross. But cucumber (with Hendrick’s) or a cocktail onion (the Martini becomes a Gibson) are cromulent add-ins. A twist is always/usually fine.

  4. I’ll drink it when I damn well want to. Traditionally, it is. But I don’t know if it’s because it truly goes with warm weather or if it’s a holdover from British colonists drinking quinine in the warm mosquito season.

Agree on the “a Martini is gin and then you breathe the word ‘vermouth’ over the glass” people are idiots.

GodDAMN that sounds good, drastic quench. I gotta make these sometime!

Twists are better than olives. Cucumber is dandy, where apropos.

I love a Pimm’s cup in the summer. Mint and cucumber, please!

I have been known to sub rakia or grappa for either gin or vodka. That can be very, very good.

Anybody ever do what I call a “reverse” martini? 3:1 vermouth or Dubonnet to gin? Those are nice over ice when it’s sweltering. I just looked it up and it turns out that was the favorite tipple of Julia Child. Go figure.

  1. Make it a double.

Missed the edit: I meant to add that I prefer vodka cocktails when I want to showcase bitters. Off the shelf, I like rhubarb, and I made a fenugreek bitter a few years ago that was fantastic shaken with Lillet and vodka.