Its name comes from the Italian brand of vermouth of the same name, produced by a company founded in 1863 by Turins Alessandro Martini, Luigi Rossi and Teofilo Sola. Today, this company offers over 100 different spirit drinks and wines around the world.
History of Martini
The history of this legendary drink began at the end of the 80s of the 19th century. The beverage that set the stage for it was called the Martinez, a type of sweet cocktail made from 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1 part Old Tom sweetened gin, 1 drop of bitters and 2-3 drops Maraschino liqueur - all of this mixed in a shaker.
The father of the Martinez was Jeffrey Thomas, an illustrious bartender who worked at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. He would prepare the cocktail to warm up his regular customer who traveled each morning by ferry boat to the town of Martinez, the then capital of the state of California. This final destination of the journey gave the name to today's big hit drink.
Despite it all, it would take the martini a long time before it would finally reach its current form and taste. In 1906, Louis Mackenstrom published his recipe the Dry Martini Cocktail, whose ingredients were orange bitters, curaçao and dry gin and dry vermouth. The company which was producing Martini began a serious advertising campaign, presenting the new Dry Martini.
Naturally, the recipe has undergone some changes over the years - they no longer use curaçao and they stopped using bitters in the 40s of the 20th century. After World War II, the proportion of vermouth in the martini fell drastically and reached the now standard and accepted 7:1 in favor of gin.
According to some claims, the true history of the creation of the martini cocktail remains shrouded in mystery. Most of those who proclaim themselves as creators use recipes and names different from one another.
A different possibility for the origin of the cocktail is the story of the head bartender at the Knickerbocker hotel in New York in 1911. The bartender, Martini di Arma di Taggia, mixed Noilly Prat vermouth with London Dry Gin in a 1:1 ratio, also adding in several drops of bitter orange liqueur. He cooled the beverage well over ice and served it in a well chilled glass. It is thought that a customer of his added the olive to make the cocktail little different but there is no categorical proof regarding this issue.
But no matter the number of possible stories for the creation of martini, the one undisputed fact remains: this is one of the most recognizable cocktails around the world.
Preparation of Martini
The preparation of a martini is much debated and discussed. Its ingredients need to be of the highest quality and very cold. They must always be mixed with ice in a cocktail mixing glass or shaken over ice in a shaker and then the resulting remarkable drink must be poured into a drinking glass, with the ice always remaining behind in the shaker's strainer. It is not required for martini glasses to be cooled beforehand but it is recommended.
The taste and aroma of the martini are definitely in direct relation to the coldness. If the drink is not cooled enough, it may have a not-so-pleasant insipid taste. The ice and amount of time of shaking/stirring play an important role. To top off the martini, the rule is to use green olives dipped in brine, not oil.
Let us offer you a universal recipe for a dry martini. The required products are 1/5 cup (70 mL) dry gin and 1 tbsp (15 mL) dry vermouth. If you desire you can add 4 drops of orange bitters. For garnish you will need green olives.
Preparation: Pour the vermouth and gin in a cylindrical or wide pitcher, add 4-5 ice cubes and stir smoothly for 10 seconds. Then strain the drink in a martini glass that's been chilled beforehand and serve with an olive. The martini cocktail glass is very specific and provides an additional exquisite feeling to the drink.
Another very popular cocktail, a derivative of the original gin martini is the vodka martini. The only difference between them is that the main ingredient used is vodka, not gin. The type of vodka used is a matter of personal preference, but of course, the higher the quality of vodka chosen, the better the cocktail will be.
Take a look at one possible recipe for a Vodka Martini. The required products: 1/5 cup (60 mL) vodka, 2 tsp (10 mL) dry vermouth, 2-3 cocktail olives or a lemon twist.
Preparation: fill a shaker with enough ice, pour in the vodka and vermouth. Shake well and pour into a martini cocktail glass. Decorate with olives or lemon rind. Optionally, you can use the lemon twist to rub the rim of the glass and then drop it in the cocktail.
Finally, it is important to note that a martini is not a cocktail you drink in a beer glass but in a special glass that is an inseparable part of it. The ideal martini serving is about 1/3 cup (90 mL). A martini should be drunk slowly and with enjoyment.