Martini is probably the most popular cocktail in the world. Have you ever wondered how it appeared? What is the difference between dry and wet martinis, and what makes them so dirty? Well, then read on to learn more about this iconic cocktail.
History of Martini
The origin of the world’s most popular cocktail is unclear. No one knows for sure where, how, and who created Martini. But there is one widely accepted theory that this cocktail has originated from the Matinez, which is a combination of old tom gin and vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters.
The history tells that the Martini cousin was created in the town of Martinez, California, during the mid-1800s Gold Rush. A gold miner, who had just struck gold, visited the local bar to celebrate his luck with a glass of champagne. Fortunately, the bar run out of champagne and the bartender insisted on serving another drink made from available ingredients which included gin, vermouth, bitters, maraschino liqueur, and a slice of lemon. That is how The Martinez Special was born.
The miner loved this drink and when he was in San Francisco, he tried to order it again and told the bartender instructions in preparation. Soon this delicious cocktail spread and in the 1880s the recipe was first published in the Bartender’s Manual.
Still, there is another version of Martini origin telling that it was named after “Martini & Rossi” vermouth, which was first created in the mid-1800s.
Now Martini is one of the most popular cocktails in the world and comes in hundreds of variations and if you haven’t tried it yet, now is the high time to do it.
Wet, Dry, or Dirty?
Ordering a Martini can be tricky sometimes. But we got you covered with this glossary of Martini terms.
- Dry Martini refers to the amount of vermouth in the cocktail. The less vermouth is added, the drier your Martini is.
- Wet Martini is Martini that has more vermouth in it so it is a little sweeter than the traditional Martini. The more vermouth you add, the wetter your Martini is.
- Dirty Martini includes a portion of olive brine. The brine can be used instead of or with the vermouth.
- Naked Martini comes without vermouth at all. It’s basically well chilled gin garnished with green olive and served up in a Martini glass. Sir Winston is quoted as saying “Glance at the vermouth bottle briefly while pouring the juniper distillate freely”. Hence, no vermouth in this martini.
A traditional Martini recipe
The traditional recipe calls for gin and vermouth, optionally with a dash or two of bitters and green olive / lemon twist as a garnish. Every ingredient should be chosen wisely.
When choosing your gin, go for London dry bottles. Gin has to be well-balanced and has a rich flavour and taste. You can go with the Dorset Dry Gin, created by Conker Spirits. This is a refreshing take on a classic London Dry. Will be a perfect choice for the Dry Martini. Cooper King Dry Gin is another great spirit for your best Martinis. Rich cardamom notes married with juicy citrus and floral layers of local honey deliver a fresh, vibrant gin of exceptional character.
The next ingredient is vermouth. This is a type of fortified wine, infused with herbs and botanicals. Traditional Martini calls for dry vermouth. We recommend you take Londino Dry Vermouth for your martinis. This fortified wine is clean and crisp, with delightful herbaceous hints.
Once you have chosen your ingredients, make sure that everything – the booze, glasses, and shaker – is as cold as possible. This is the key to the great-tasting Martini.
And yep, we have to say that. Bond is wrong. A Martini should be stirred, not shaken, because shaking creates air and ice crystals, and it is not cool, and it ruins the drink. Read more about that here.
How to make Martini?
- 60ml - gin
- 30ml - dry vermouth
- Lemon bitters - 1 dash
- Lemon peel twist or olives, for garnish
Chill the glass in the freezer. Then pour the gin and vermouth into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir gently until the drink is chilled. Strain the drink into the chilled Martini glass and garnish with an olive or lemon peel.
Three delicious Martini twists to try
Next time you are in a mood for exploring the wide world of Martini variations, make some of these twists.
Recipe from XECO Wines
This is a stylish twist on a classic Martini featuring dry sherry.
- 25ml of XECO Fino
- 50ml dry gin
Stir all the ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass or shaker, and then fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Dirty Martini at the Savoy
Recipe from Black Cow Vodka
Smooth and creamy Black Cow Vodka is a perfect choice for your next Dirty Martini Serve. Check out this recipe.
- 60ml Black Cow Vodka
- 15ml Dry Vermouth
- 3 drops of Savoy Bitters
- 2-3 muddled olives
Pit olives and muddle in the base of a mixing glass. Add Black Cow Vodka and Dry Vermouth, top with cubed ice and stir. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pair of olives.
Recipe from Ojo de Tigre Mezcal
M is for Martini. And yes, this recipe includes mezcal!
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with a spoon. Serve in a chilled martini glass and use a fine strainer. Serve neat, not over ice. Garnish with a habanero-infused pineapple ring.