The Martini is one of the most iconic cocktails and is a symbol of sophistication and class. It has been celebrated in films from the Thin Man series from the 30’s and 40’s all the way to present day Bond Films and many more. In fact, there is a glass called the ‘Nick and Nora’ (that Martini’s are often served in) that got its name from the 2 main characters in the Thin Man.
No matter how it’s mixed, the Martini has made a lasting impression on how we drink as a culture. As a result of its ubiquity, everyone seems to have their own particular preferences on how to make their perfect Martini.
Common Martini variations include:
- Vodka, Gin, or some mix thereof for the base spirit
- Dry Vermouth (and how much, or none at all
- Orange bitters or none,
- Shaken or stirred (Thanks, James Bond…)
- And a large number of different garnishes, most commonly olive or lemon peel.
While I may have strong feelings on what makes a “correct” Martini, I’ll always fall back on my mantra: Drink what you like!
A (Far too) Brief History of the Martini
The History of this drink, like many others, is not quite clear. Some say that it originated as the cocktail known as the Martinez, (which is Gin, Sweet vermouth, bitters and Maraschino liqueur) during the mid 1800’s in the town of Martinez. Another story says that it was created by the famous bartender Jerry Thomas at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, for a gold miner on his way to Martinez.
Either way, there’s no consensus on who originated it or the “correct” recipe. So I’m going to show you my recommendation for the best “classic” Martini recipe, and you are welcome to tweak it to your tastes!