How to Make a Martini by Jesse Vida, Head Bartender of ATLAS Bar (aka Gotham)

The art of mixology is very much like cooking — there are recipes to follow, and while some call for strict ingredients, there’s still a lot of room to experiment and play with measurements, garnishes, and even the various versions of ingredients available. Adding a certain garnish, using a different brand of liquor or even a difference in temperature can result in huge flavour differences between two seemingly identical cocktails.

As our fourth installment of our home bar series, we’ve spoken to Jesse Vida, the Head Bartender at ATLAS Bar Singapore. Gracing the ground floor of the iconic Parkview Square, ATLAS simply exudes 1920s luxury,  basking in its exquisite Art Deco glory. Known for its extensive selection of gin — over 1,300 labels in total — along with a fine collection of spirits and champagnes sourced from all over the globe, cocktails are named after iconic moments in history, including the discovery of King Tut and the publishing of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

With over 10 years of bartending experience, Jesse has provided a few concise tips for those starting to experiment with cocktails at home.

The Basics

Listing a shaker as the most essential tool, Jesse suggests these key ingredients, which can be used to make a variety of cocktails:

– Orange or Angostura Bitters
– Base spirits — Gin, Whiskey and Rum
– A dry and sweet Vermouth
– Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes for juice and peels

The ATLAS Martini ($18)

Two Drinks For Beginners

Similar to Tippling Club’s Andrew Loudon, Jesse suggests two types of cocktails for beginners, which also happen to be his go-to drinks at home — a Manhattan and a Martini. Straightforward and easy to make, the two drinks consist of different ingredients, but have the same base recipe: 1 dash of Bitters, 25ml of Vermouth, and 50ml of your base spirit.

“For the Martini, you would need orange bitters (Scrappy’s), dry vermouth (Mancino Secco), and dry gin (Fords). As for the Manhattan, you would need Angostura bitters, Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi Torino) and Rye Whiskey (Michters Rye).”

He also suggests an orange for the Manhattan and a lemon twist for the Martini as a garnish — just like what he uses at ATLAS!

The ATLAS Bar Negroni ($18)

A Negroni Will Impress

“A great cocktail at home to impress your friends or family would be a Negroni. It’s a bitter/sweet slow sipping drink that is equal parts Dry Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari (30ml of each). It’s a great pre-meal tipple or after dinner digestive.”

A Few Things To Keep In Mind While Bartending At Home

Measure your ingredients

“A common mistake is not measuring your ingredients.  Use some kind of measuring tool, whether a shot glass or a jigger, to know you’re doing it right!”

Don’t limit yourself

“There aren’t any drinks I wouldn’t order and only make at home. I love cocktails and it’s always a fun experience to enjoy how other people prepare them even if it isn’t the way I would make it.”

Skill comes with experience

“My advice to anyone making drinks at home is to start simple and work your way up to more complexity.  It’s very similar to cooking, it takes a lot of practice to make a perfect omelette or cook a perfect steak.Work on your stirring and shaking technique and timing, start with simple ingredients and expand as you master the basics.”

The Three Cocktail Flight (from $40)

ATLAS Bar is currently open for delivery, for both food and beverages. Bottled cocktails are available in 100ml, 250ml and 500ml servings. To sample the ATLAS classics, try the Three Cocktail Flight (from $45) — a gin-based 3 bottle set that includes the ATLAS Martini, Negroni and Urban Pioneer, a strong, Brave New World-inspired cocktail consisting of London Dry Gin, sweet Vermouth, coffee, cacao, mint and aromatic Bitters.


For more information on ATLAS bar, click here.

Check out our first three installments of the series with Andrew Loudon, Ronan Keilthy, and Ethan Leslie Leong & Gabriel Carlos.