Everything you've heard about keeping things cold when mixing a drink goes double for the martini. Chill the glasses, chill the shaker, chill your booze – chill your guests, if you can. In the version made to surrealist Luis Buñuel's recipe at Melbourne's Gin Palace, everything is frozen, allegedly, for two days prior to mixing. Other enthusiasts keep a bar fridge stocked purely for martini-making purposes.
We feel that gin is far more elegant than vodka, lemon twists the marginally more sophisticated garnish than green olives, and shaken our preference over stirred. And dry – let's not forget dryness. The less vermouth a martini contains, the drier it is said to be. Where ye olde cocktail guides describe drinks made with two parts gin to one part vermouth, modern drinkers favour only the merest hint of vermouth. So seriously is the dryness question taken that some bartenders use a perfume atomiser to mist the surface of the drink with vermouth, others maintain that holding the neck of the bottle firmly and saying 'vermouth' aloud is enough, while Melbourne's Der Raum serves martinis with vermouth-filled pipettes. Noilly Prat is our dry white vermouth of choice (sweet or red vermouth is a different beast entirely), though dry sherry (a Spanish fino works very nicely) makes a fine substitute.
On the olive-or-twist garnish question, should you choose to go with olives, large queen greens are very good, and unstuffed is usually best, though the anchovy-stuffed numbers are fun with a sherry wash. One is good, two are fine, three are too many (though the 20-olive martini carried by Lex Luthor's moll in Superman Returns was kinda cool), while a martini with a splash of brine from the olive jar becomes a dirty martini. A Gibson, meanwhile, is a martini garnished with two small pickled onions.