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Top 35 recipes of 2016

2016 was all about slow-roasting, fresh pasta and comfort food. These are the recipes you clicked on most this year, counting back to number one.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Best travel destinations in 2017

We're thinking big for travelling in 2017 - and so should you. Will we see you sunrise at Java's 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple, across the table at Reykjavik's newest restaurants or swimming side-by-side with humpback whales off Western Australia's coast?

Christmas vegetarian recipes

The versatility of vegetarian dishes means they can be served alongside meat and seafood, or enjoyed simply as they are. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together some of our favourite vegetarian recipes to appease both herbivores and carnivores alike.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

How to make the perfect Martini

Martini

Martini

With just two key ingredients, the Martini is a pretty straightforward drink to make at home, but observing a few details can make a big difference to the quality of your cocktail. We asked Vasco bar manager Luke Ashton, last year's Australian Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year, to share his secrets for nailing the perfect Martini. (And trust us, the man makes a mean one.) Here are his top tips.

1.  Always use a fresh bottle of vermouth: "Get the bottle of vermouth that you've had sitting in the fridge or on the shelf for however long, take the cap off and pour it down the sink. It's wine and, like wine, it'll start to go off once it's opened. The longest you want to hold onto it is about a month; keep it refrigerated in the meantime. Martinis call for dry vermouth, naturally, so something like a Noilly Prat is my preference, but I also enjoy using softer fortified aromatic wines like Lillet Blanc."

2. Don't forget the bitters: "It's not a real Martini without the addition of orange bitters. It'll tie your gin or vodka together with your vermouth and make for a much more harmonious and complex drink. Try Angostura orange bitters - a different product to regular Angostura bitters - or, if you can get them, Regans'.

3. Play it cool: "A good Martini is a very cold Martini, so make sure everything is well chilled before you start. That extends to your vermouth and your spirit as well. Keep your vodka or your gin in the fridge or the freezer, and your glasses, too, if you have room. Some people even like to keep all their equipment well chilled as well."

4. And use quality ice: "Ice really is the difference between a good cocktail and a great cocktail. Avoid using those little pieces of ice from the tray that comes from your fridge. Get yourself some bigger ice trays so that you can produce denser, colder ice to make a better-quality drink."

5. Don't go too slow: "A Martini is not the sort of drink that you want to sit on. By no means would I suggest you rush your drinking, but if you're looking for something to take your time with, go for a glass of wine instead. A Martini is something you want to drink sooner rather than later because, unlike a wine, or even a Negroni, it's not going to get any better the longer it's in your glass."

GT's resident Martini drinkers have chimed in to add that small (and strong) is the way to go with the Martini. "Better two small, painfully cold Martinis in a row than one big, sloppy one getting warm," says GT deputy editor Pat Nourse. "And don't get dragged into that whole shaken/stirred argument. Classically speaking, cocktails that are just spirit with spirit are stirred, producing a clearer, better-textured result, but both techniques done right - a good 40-second stir or a good, hard shake - still produce a cold drink that's perfectly thirst-quenching." Our take? Do the experiment with some friends, serving the stirred and shaken drinks side by side, and see which you prefer.

Luke Ashton's final piece of advice goes a step further: throw a Martini party. "Once you've got a handle on how to make them, make sure you use up all that vermouth that you've invested in while it's fresh and have some people over for a few Martinis."

Australia's best Martinis

Martinis are easy to make yourself, but even easier to order from someone else. Here's where you'll find some of Australia's finest.

In Sydney, the bar at Rockpool Bar & Grill offers more than 15 gins (Tanqueray No. Ten, Hendrick's and Australia's own West Winds among them) and the setting couldn't be more perfectly Sterling Cooper. The prize for the meanest Martini in our nation's capital goes to speakeasy newcomer Molly. You won't find a Martini on the list at The Gresham in Brisbane, but if you ask the bartenders nicely they'll be more than happy to fix one for you. In Adelaide, excellent booze, nice ice and skilful bartending make Peel Street's Clever Little Tailor our cocktail go-to. Out west, Clarence's wears the crown for the most-coveted Martini in Perth, and down Hobart way, the IXL Long Bar at the Henry Jones Art Hotel leans classic in its cocktails, making it a natural first choice, regardless of whether you prefer olives or a twist.

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