The Martini is shaken not stirred, exactly the way James Bond requested. But, where did this incredible cocktail come from and what exactly makes it so popular? Stereotypically, thanks to films such as Casino Royale, your Martini will be served in a long-stemmed ‘V’ shaped drinking glass with a lemon twist or olive garnish. However, the original martini is very different from what you may find in cocktail menus today.
Where did the Martini come from?
The exact origin of the martini is unclear, however, it is said that it dates back to the mid-1800s Gold Rush. One of the most favoured stories of the Martini cocktail starts with a bartender named Jerry Thomas, it is said he invented a drink for a miner who wanted something special in exchange for a gold nugget. Since the miner was heading back to Martinez, California, this cocktail was named accordingly, the Martinez cocktail soon to be changed to the Martini.
Others say that an Italian immigrant bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia invented the drink at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. Some even argue that the history of the Martini name is simply a matter of branding as Martini & Rossi was an Italian sweet vermouth manufacturer. Though these stories may all sound plausible, they are impossible to verify. Unfortunately, we will probably never know the true origin story of this beloved cocktail.
When was the Martini first published as a cocktail?
The very first known written recipe of the martini is credited to O. H. Bryon’s 1884 cocktail book, The Modern Bartender, where the drink is referred to as a variation of the Manhattan. Since then the recipe has been seen in Jerry Thomas’ Bar-Tenders Guide which was published in 1887, Harry Johnson’s Bartender Manual which was published in 1888 and also Theodore Proulx, Bartender’s Manual of the same year. After this time it was no longer called a Martinez cocktail and the new name of a Martini cocktail was here to stay.
What were the first ingredients of a Martini?
The Martini has developed so much over time that the very first recipe is now hard to find. This recipe was based on the Manhattan cocktail, the standard ratio for early Manhattans was Italian vermouth and whiskey in equal parts and so this then became the ratio for early Martinis also - just with gin instead.
It is said that the first Martinis contained two or three dashes of Peruvian Bitters, a one-half wineglass of gin and also one-half wineglass of Italian Vermouth (a ‘wineglass’ is an old liquid measure holding two ounces). The amount of gin used has steadily increased over the years, where now, the ratios are approached with much subjectivity and vary according to personal taste.
It is safe to say that over the years, the Martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. Of course, now in the 21st century, there are many different Martini cocktails to choose from. They are all served in luxury gin glasses of different shapes and sizes from gin goblet glasses to highball glasses and these cocktails are loved by people of all ages.
If you are a gin lover and have never tried a Martini we would definitely recommend you do. But, if you find that they're not to your taste why not stick to a classic gin and tonic or try another gin cocktail like a Tom Collins? No matter what your favourite gin drink is, we can guarantee it will taste better when using the perfect Copa gin glasses from Vemacity.