My idea of a martini isn't as sophisticated or as macho as it could be, purists can look away now. As far as I'm concerned it's a gin or vodka based drink with either the traditional dash of vermouth or, and here's where it gets contaversial, something far more frivolous. But then cocktails aren't really my thing (a good gin and tonic excepted).
Gin, however, really is my thing (if I was to have a vodka martini the vodka would need to be either the grape based ciroc, or the apple based Chase vodka - just so you know) so anything which makes the most of it is worth exploring. I have no particular opinion about which gin a person should buy (though for preference perhaps not a supermarket own brand), I generally get something different each time, dependant on what looks good and fits my budget on the day - I currently have around a dozen gins in the house (most unopened), the fun being in trying something new.
The last martini I made was from a recipe in Ruth Ball's excellent 'Rebellious Spirits' (another top tip for gift giving if you have a books on booze lover in your life). It's the excellent gypsy martini which called for some faffing around marinating raisins and Rosemary in gin for a week before mixing with lillet blanc and elderflower liqueur, and I can describe it in the present tense because I've still a good quantity of it in the freezer. Which leads me on to one of those blindingly obvious once you see it tips (I read it in a magazine). Pre mix your martini's in a generous quantity by chucking everything in a bottle, giving it a bit of a shake, and then leaving it in the freezer until you want it. It's an approach that might offend proper mixologists everywhere, but I found it worked very well for my purposes.
A very dry martini might call for something by Hemmingway, or Chandler, or indeed any good bit of noir if your not in a bourbon frame of mind. A vodka martini is obviously the accompaniment to a Bond novel, but as I favour a wetter martini and am quite happy to have a flavoured gin, or indeed other flavourings altogether I'm going with Wodehouse.
Bertie Wooster and friends do drink a lot of cocktails, and to be frank if it's the kind of day when we're doing this at home than darker, or in anyway serious, books aren't getting a look in. I'm seeing this as just the ticket for Christmas and New Year house parties, when no one has to drive, be at work the next day, or do anything else along those lines. The sort of occasion when mild excess can be walked off the next day and pre dinner drinks can be indulged in along with old films, board games, and something like the 'Weekend Wodehouse' collection for those of us who prefer a book to anything else.