So naturally, when it comes to learning the basics (and beyond), we turned to the best in the business. Meet Grey Goose ambassador and mixologist Andy Wren, who has 15 years bartending experience behind him, in the UK and Australia (he managed ritzy Melbourne cocktail bar 1806 for three and a bit years). "Nothing shows a bartender's skill like the martini," he tells us. "The key to a great martini is always how cold you can get it, [so] the trick to making the perfect martini at home is to pre-make it and get it into the freezer hours before you plan to drink it. It will work out perfectly every time."
Just what makes vodka the best base for a great cocktail? "Its mixability is its greatest strength," says Wren. "It's a fantastic vehicle for flavours. You can add complex and simple flavours to a vodka cocktail and as long as the flavours work, so will the cocktail." With that in mind, we asked Wren to share his three favourite recipes. Enjoy.
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1. Grey Goose Martinez
45mL Grey Goose
20mL Martini Rosso vermouth
10mL Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
Combine all ingredients and stir over ice. Stir for around 45 seconds and strain into a martini or coupette class. I like a lemon twist on my Martinez. It's a twist on a classic gin cocktail from around 1862.
2. Le Fizz
A beautiful aperitif-style cocktail designed by Joe McCanta, our Grey Goose global ambassador. The idea was to mimic the style of a great glass of champagne. It's light, energetic and beautifully balanced.
35mL Grey Goose
25mL St Germain elderflower liqueur
20mL Fresh lime juice
50mL chilled soda water
The cocktail is shaken and strained into a champagne flute and topped with the chilled soda. Don't shake the soda water, as it will separate your shaker and cover everyone in a 5-metre radius.
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3. Espresso martini
A great espresso martini is a killer dessert cocktail.
30mL Grey Goose
30mL coffee liqueur. (De Kuyper has one that works really well.)
30mL shot espresso
The key watch-out on this is to measure the espresso from the machine. Nespresso works really well for at-home espresso martinis. The key to the great crema or foam top is a nice hard shake with a 3/4 tin of ice when shaking. Any more ice and the crema can't form.