Salvatore Calabrese at The Mule, Spitalfields

Words by
Sphere Life

18th April 2017

The cocktail maestro on how to mix the perfect Martini

East London and City cocktail connoisseurs should hotfoot it to Spitalfields, for there is a new bar on the scene. Cocktail ‘Maestro’ Salvatore Calabrese opened his new venue, The Mule Bar last week, which is bringing a 1960s vibe to the cobbled surrounds. Sitting beneath the Holy Birds pub, the underground bar pays homage to the swinging sixties. The menu includes The Blue Hawaiian, Elvis Presley's favourite tipple made from Rum, Blue Caruçao, coconut cream and pineapple Juice, a Pink Squirrel made with almond liqueur, Crème de Cacao, fresh cream and ground cinnamon, and a Horse's Neck, a concoction of gin, ginger ale, Angostura Bitters and a grapefruit spiral.


Yet the mixologist, who dreamt up the famous Duke’s Hotel Martini – where no guest is allowed more than two, such is their potency – excels at the classics too. A Negroni made at the opening night was mellow and first rate, made with aged spirits including a Cinzano from the 1970s, a Campari from the 1940s and a faded beauty of a bottle, a Sarti dry from the 1930s. Of course the classic Martini still reigns. Whilst purists say gin is the only way, Calabrese makes a mean version from Stoli Elit vodka.

For those who wish to make this iconic cocktail at home, here is the recipe. Remember the rule: no more than two...


Salvatore Calabrese’s perfect Martini

Ingredients: 3oz / 9cl gin or vodka from the freezer. For good results, use Stoli Elit vodka or Plymouth gin

2 dashes

Martini extra dry vermouth

Lemon twist


First take a Martini glass and, using an atomizer, spray a thin layer of still water across the inside of the glass. This is all the dilution the drink is going to get. Now put the glass in the freezer alongside a bottle of good quality gin or vodka.

Ideally the bottle should have been there overnight. You’ll want to leave the glass in there for at least 20 minutes. The temperature of the freezer should be no higher than -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and no lower than -21 degree Celsius (-5.8 degrees Fahrenheit). 

While it is chilling, pour some fresh vermouth into a small bottle or even into a small vinegar shaker (the ones I found in British fish and chips shops when I first moved from Italy proved to be ideal). Note: the vermouth must be fresh; after all, it is a wine and it will oxidize. So once open, vermouth must be refrigerated and discarded after four weeks; I normally put a sticker on the bottle and write on it the date when I opened it. Next, prepare the garnish. Cut a thin twist of lemon about two inches long. Make sure it doesn’t have any white pith on it.

When you are ready to make the drink, take the glass and bottle from the freezer and pour 8cl of the spirit directly into the glass. Next, dash just 2-3 drops of the vermouth over the surface of the drink.

Do not be tempted to be liberal with it – only the tiniest amount is necessary to add aroma and the driest of flavors to the spirit. Take the lemon twist and spritz the lemon oils from the zest over the surface of the drink (again, less is more!), then run the twist around the rim of the glass and throw it away. A [green] olive is optional. The drink is now ready to serve.
Bottom’s up!