Martini (cocktail)

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For the vodka-based cocktail, see Vodka Martini. For other uses, see Martini.
Dry Martini
IBA Official Cocktail
The martini is one of the most widely known cocktails
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served straight (or on the rocks)
Standard garnish

Olive or lemon twist

Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Straight: Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive.
* Dry Martini recipe at International Bartenders Association

The Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the Martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the Martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet"[1] and E. B. White called it "the elixir of quietude".[2]


Three Martinis with olives as a garnish

By 1922 the Martini reached its most recognizable form in which London dry gin and dry vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass.[3] Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker's choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.

A dry Martini is made with dry, white vermouth. By the Roaring Twenties, it became common to ask for them. Over the course of the century, the amount of vermouth steadily dropped. During the 1930s the ratio was 3:1, and during the 1940s the ratio was 4:1. During the latter part of the 20th century, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, or even 50:1 or 100:1 Martinis became considered the norm.[4]

A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.[5]

A perfect Martini uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.[6]

Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, "A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy", Italy being a major producer of vermouth.[7] Luis Buñuel used the dry Martini as part of his creative process, regularly using it to sustain "a reverie in a bar". He offers his own recipe, involving Angostura bitters, in his memoir.[8]

There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. The fictional spy James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be "shaken, not stirred," following Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes.[9] The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford.[10] However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that "a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another."[11] A Martini may also be served on the rocks, that is, with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.[12]

Origins and mixology[edit]

The exact origin of the martini is unclear. Numerous cocktails with names and ingredients similar to the modern-day martini were first seen in bartending guides of the late 19th century.[13] For example, in the 1888 Bartenders' Manual there was a recipe for a drink that consisted in part of half a wine glass of Old Tom Gin and a half a wine glass of vermouth.[14] In 1863, an Italian vermouth maker started marketing their product under the brand name of Martini, and the brand name may be the source of the cocktail's name.[15]

Another popular theory suggests it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served sometime in the early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, which people frequented before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez. Alternatively, the people of Martinez say the drink was first created by a bartender in their town,[16] or maybe the drink was named after the town. Another theory links the first dry martini to the name of a bartender who concocted the drink at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City in 1911 or 1912.[17]

The Marguerite Cocktail could also be considered an early form of the Martini, consisting as it did of a 2:1 mix of Plymouth dry gin and dry vermouth, with a dash of orange bitters.[18]

During Prohibition the relative ease of illegal gin manufacture led to the martini's rise as the predominant cocktail of the mid-20th century in the United States. With the repeal of Prohibition, and the ready availability of quality gin, the drink became progressively drier. In the 1970s and 80s, the martini came to be seen as old-fashioned and was replaced by more intricate cocktails and wine spritzers, but the mid-1990s saw a resurgence in the drink and numerous new versions.

Some newer drinks include the word "martini" or the suffix "-tini" in the name (e.g., appletini, peach martini, chocolate martini, espresso martini). These are named after the martini cocktail glass they use and generally contain vodka but share little else in common with the drink. The closest relation and best known of these is the "vodka martini", which previously existed starting in the 1950s under the name kangaroo cocktail before taking over the Martini moniker.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edmunds, Lowell (1981). Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5971-9. 
  2. ^ Conrad, Barnaby, III (1995). The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic. Chronicle Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-8118-0717-7. 
  3. ^ McElhone, Harry (1922). Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. Dean & Son Ltd. p. 55. 
  4. ^ "Drink Recipes: How to Make a Dry Martini, Classic Cocktails". Thirsty NYC. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Bloom, Dave. The Complete Bartender's Guide. Carlton Books. p. 95. ISBN 1-84222-736-X. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Instant Expert: How to make a perfect Martini". The Daily Telegraph. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Buñuel, Luis (1982). Mon Dernier soupir [My Last Breath] (in French). 
  9. ^ Craddock, Harry (2011). The Savoy Cocktail Book. Pavilion Books. pp. 102–103. ISBN 9-781862-052963. 
  10. ^ David A. Embury (1948). The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. New York City: Doubleday. p. 101. 
  11. ^ Schott, Ben (2003). Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9780747566540. 
  12. ^ Irma S. Rombauer (1975). Joy of Cooking. p. 49. [The old-fashioned glass] is increasingly used these days [mid-1970s] by people who prefer their Martinis 'on the rocks' instead of 'up'—that is, in the rather more fussy and more precise cocktail-glass type of preparation. 
  13. ^ Edmunds, Lowell (1998). Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8018-7311-9. 
  14. ^ Johnson, Harry (1888). The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders' Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style. H. Johnson. p. 38. 
  15. ^ "Shaken or Stirred? A Short History to Celebrate National Martini Day". The Drink Nation. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Taylor, David (2002). Martini. Silverback Books. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-930603-03-5. 
  17. ^ Gasnier, Vincent (2007). Drinks. DK Adult. p. 376. 
  18. ^ Thomas, Stuart (1904). Stuart's Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them. Excelsior Publishing House. p. 132. 

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