The martini. The cocktail that seems to offer its consumers an immediate dose of sophistication. Contemporary cocktails have since become convoluted endeavors shaken up by waist-coat wearing bartenders and self-proclaimed ‘mixologists.’ The martini has endured as one of the iconic alcoholic drinks that require little embellishment. With its effortless panache and simple ingredients, this cocktail is the alcoholic equivalent of a well-fitted tuxedo: Demure, well-spoken with a quiet sense of luxury. James Bond is not the only notable advocate of the drink, Ernest Hemmingway once proclaimed; “I’ve never tasted anything so cool and clean…They make me feel civilized.”
The all-American glass, well-loved by those with a more sophisticated palate, boasts a rather murky history. One of the most popular theories dates back to the 1800s amidst the glinting American Gold Rush. Allegedly, a miner who had quite literally struck gold, wandered over to the local bar to celebrate his newly-acquired shining fortune. The man requested a bottle of their finest Champagne but alas, the bar was out. From behind the bar, the bartender suggested he mix something with the ingredients he had on-hand; gin, vermouth, bitters, and a slice of lemon. And so, The Martinez Special was created. The miner enjoyed the bitter booze so much he ordered the drink again at a bar in San Francisco. It’s popularity spread among the nouveau riche and the recipe made its way into bartender’s manuals by the 1880s. In the interest of brevity, the drink became simply known as a martini. The cocktail’s popularity never seems to wane. It was a frequent feature in the 1960s, in the era where workplace alcohol consumption was more than acceptable – it was encouraged.
When it comes to the recipe of the drink, fierce debate amongst cocktail lovers ensues. Tt seems the ratios of the ingredients are now considered to be regarded subjectively, mixed in order to oblige to the drinker’s personal taste. Martini virgins please note: A “dry” martini contains less vermouth, while a “dirty” one includes a dash of olive brine. The drink is shaken over ice but never served with it. Purists will know that the cocktail was originally made with gin but the Gibson, its Russian cousin, is made with vodka. 007 Fans may well know; it can be shaken or stirred. For a dose of sophistication to your evening nightcap, try this…
Classic Martini Recipe
2 1/2 ounces of high-quality gin
1/2 ounce vermouth
Optional: a dash of Angostura bitters
Garnish: 1 – 3 olives or a lemon twist
1. In a mixing glass filled with ice cubes, combine the gin and vermouth, pouring more or less vermouth to your taste.
2. Stir for 30 seconds.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters, if desired.
Garnish with olives or a lemon twist, loosen your bow tie and enjoy. A high brow drink that can be shaken or stirred.