Dilution, Myth or Reality

Have you heard anyone say that a Martini needs to be properly diluted when mixed?? To what are they referring?  What does that mean?

Depending on distiller, gin varies from about 80 proof to 100 proof, or 40% ABV to 50% ABV (Alcohol By Volume).   It also varies from country to country, depending on local laws and customs.   For example, my favorite, Bombay Sapphire (US) is 94 proof or 47% ABV .   Now quiz time: what is the rest of the volume?  Answer: water.  More precisely filtered purified, possibly distilled, water.

When you dilute the Martini you’re adding water to the mix and in doing so lowering the ABV level!  If that’s what you want then why not just use a less strong gin to begin with??

Furthermore, when you dilute the drink by extended mixing you’re adding water which has melted from the mixing ice.  Ice which has come, most likely from the bar or restaurant’s ice maker.  Does your bar use filtered purified water in their ice maker?  I doubt it.  And when was the last time your bar actually cleaned their ice maker?  Who knows what is growing in there.

You might want to look back at my post on “Cold Ice” to see additional comments about bar ice.

Personally I like my Martini full strength with absolutely minimal dilution and absolutely no extra melted ice from a questionable ice source.

Just for fun, here is a brief sampling of ABV levels of various popular gins:
Gordon’s 37.5% ABV (UK)
Gordon’s 40% ABV (US)
Beefeater 40% ABV (UK)
Beefeater 47% ABV (US)
Tanqueray No. Ten 47.3% ABV
Hendrick’s 44% ABV
Bombay Sapphire 47% ABV  (US)
Bombay Sapphire 40% ABV (UK)
Boodles 45.2% ABV (US)
Boodles 40% ABV (UK)

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