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Martini (cocktail)

Martini The martini is one of the most widely-known cocktails, shown here with its two main ingredients Type: CocktailPrimary alcohol by volume: Served: "Straight up"; without ice Standard garnish: olivesor lemon peelStandard drinkware: Cocktail glassCommonly used ingredients: Preparation: Traditionally stirredinto a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up. Notes: The ratio of gin to vermouth is highly variable in martini recipes.

The martini is a cocktail made with gin and dry white vermouth or sweet red vermouth, although substituting vodka for gin is now common. It is often described as being "crisp" or "astringent". Over the years, the martini has become one of the most well-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken once called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet",[1]and E. B. White called it "the elixir of quietude".[2] Freelance writer Barbara Holland referred to the martini in her 2007 book The Joy of Drinking as "the definitive drink—called simply a 'drink'—among those who felt that what you drank was part of respectability, your background, and your social, professional and educational standing."[3] It is also the proverbial drink of the one-time "three-martini lunch" of business executives, now largely abandoned as part of companies' "fitness for duty"[4] programs.

The martini is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.



Wikibooks' Bartending has more about this subject: Cocktails/Martini

While variations are many, a standard modern martini is a five to one ratio, made by combining approximately two and a half ounces of gin and one half ounce of sweet or dry vermouth with ice. Many Europeans prefer somewhat less vermouth—about a six to one proportion of gin or vodka to vermouth; however, there are also Americans who might favor this proportion [4]. Many bartending schools insist that a cocktail shaker tends to dull the taste of the vermouth,[citation needed] and some argue that it sharpens the taste of gin by "bruising" the liquid. However, it is relatively common to see a bartender mix a martini with a shaker due in part to the influence of fictional super-spy James Bond, who asked for his martinis "shaken, not stirred" (such a martini is traditionally referred to as a "Bradford"). The ingredients are mixed then strained and served "up" (without ice) in a chilled cocktail glass, and garnished with either an olive or a twist of lemon (a strip of the peel, usually squeezed or twisted to express volatile oils onto the surface of the drink).

While the standard martini may call for a five to one ratio of distilled spirits to vermouth, aficionados of the dry martini may reduce the proportion of vermouth drastically for a drier martini. Connoisseurs boast of sweetening the cocktail by merely coating the glass with vermouth.[citation needed] It is said that a "Churchill martini" contains no vermouth, just British gin.[citation needed] The legend holds that Churchill would get as close to the vermouth bottle as to "look at it from across the room". This would make it very dry or a so-called "Churchill martini" On the other hand, some experts strongly object to this practice, arguing that a cocktail with one predominant ingredient is no cocktail at all, and furthermore, that the term "dry" has nothing to do with the gin-to-vermouth ratio, but with the use of dry, white, French vermouth instead of sweet, red, Italian vermouth [5].

Green olives stuffed with pimento are a classic martini garnish.

Although it started with olive as a garnish, olive juice can be added to a martini to make it a dirty martini. The taste of olive distracts from the taste of straight gin and vermouth, easing the stiffness of the drink.

Some aficionados avoid imparting excessive flavors to their martinis. If they do use an olive, it is either unstuffed or is stuffed with something as neutral as an almond; the olive itself is rinsed of any brine or vinegar solution prior to use. The olive is then slipped into the martini so as not to disturb the fine mixture of gin and vermouth. A "lemon twist" is considered a more delicate garnish because of its mild and complementary flavor accent. In this case, a special lemon peeler might strip off a slender rope of lemon (including the pith) while the lemon is held carefully above the nearly finished martini. This orientation allows the mist of lemon oils to gently spray the top of the cocktail.

Classic martini recipes from the early part of the 20th century use a gin-to-vermouth ratio as low as 2:1. The most common ratio for a classic, as opposed to a modern, martini is 3:1.[citation needed] The broad variation of gin to vermouth ratios is the source of much discussion and speculation.

Another common variation is the vodka martini, made with vodka instead of gin. In the 1990s, the vodka martini supplanted the traditional gin-based martini in popularity.[citation needed] Today, when bar and restaurant customers order a "martini", they frequently have in mind a drink made with vodka. Martini purists decry this development: while few object to the drink itself, they strenuously object to it being called a martini. The martini, they insist, is a gin-based cocktail; this variation should be designated as such, with the name "vodka martini" (or "vodkatini", or "kangaroo"). Further confusion may arise from confusing Martini vermouth, a brand of vermouth, with the martini cocktail.

A more recent development that further offends martini purists is the use of "martini" (or the suffix "-tini") to refer to any beverage served in a cocktail glass, such as the appletini, the chocolatini, or the pineapple martini.

History of the drink

The origin of the martini is uncertain. By one widely-disseminated account, the martini is a descendant of the Martinez, an older, sweeter cocktail consisting of two ounces of sweet vermouth, one ounce Old Tom gin (a sweetened variant), two dashes maraschino cherry liquid, and one dash bitters, shaken with ice, strained, and served with a twist of lemon.[6] The Martinez was most likely invented in Martinez, California, where a plaque commemorating the birth of the martini can be found on the north-east corner of the intersection of Alhambra Avenue and Masonic Street. The earliest known reference to the Martinez is found in The Bon Vivant's Companion: Or How to Mix Drinks (1887 edition), authored by "Professor" Jerry Thomas, the head bartender at many famous watering holes, including the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco.

According to George A. Zabriske, who republished the original book in 1928, Thomas had a client who took a ferry from the Occidental Hotel on Montgomery Street to Martinez, then the state capital of California, every morning. Thomas mixed him the Martinez to keep the morning chill off, and named it bonner after his client's destination. Distilled spirits in the 1800s were not regulated as they are today, and were sold at cask strength—upwards of 135 proof. As the strength of the spirits decreased, smaller quantities of mixers were needed to make them palatable. Now it is more common to see a martini made with little or no vermouth. Some suggest that the drink owes its name to Martini (known in the United States as Martini & Rossi), the brand name for a popular Italian vermouth marketed internationally since the nineteenth century. Those who order a "martini" in Italy may be surprised to be served a sweet vermouth instead of a cocktail containing gin or vodka. (The martini proper is known there as a "martini cocktail".)

Modern American Drinks by George J. Kappeler, from 1895, gives this recipe for the Martini Cocktail: "Half a mixing glass full fine ice, three dashes orange bitters, one-half jigger Tom gin, one-half jigger Italian vermouth, a piece lemon-peel. Mix, strain into cocktail-glass. Add a maraschino cherry if desired by customer."[7]

A 1901 novel, set in the mid-1880s, has a Harvard undergraduate referring to "a Martini cocktail."[8]

The version of the Martini Cocktail given in William "Cocktail" Boothby's 1908 edition of The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them could, with the addition of lemon zest, indicate the beginning of a transition from the early sweet version to something dry more familiar to the current palate: "Into a small mixing glass place some cracked ice, two dashes of Orange bitters, half a jiggerful of Old Tom cordial gin and half a jiggerful of Martini & Rossi's Italian vermouth; stir thoroughly, strain into a stem cocktail glass which has been previously chilled, drop in a cherry, squeeze a piece of lemon rind over the top and serve with water on the side." We don't even need to hypothesize about the transition, though, because this work also includes a recipe for the Dry Martini Cocktail "a la Charlie Shaw, Los Angeles, Cal.": "Into a mixing-glass place some cracked ice, two dashes of Orange bitters, half a jigger of French vermouth and half a jigger of dry English gin (any good brand); stir well until thoroughly chilled, strain into a stem cocktail glass, squeeze a piece of lemon peel over the top and serve with an olive."[9] Since it is the dry version which has survived as the beverage associated with the name Martini, perhaps it is to this unknown Charlie Shaw that our glasses should be raised.

William Grimes, restaurant critic for The New York Times reports the theory (in Straight Up or On the Rocks: the Story of the American Cocktail) that the dry martini was invented in 1912 by Signor Martini di Arma di Taggia, the bartender at New York's Knickerbocker Hotel. Numerous published references to the martini before 1912 discount this theory.

Winston Churchill chose to forgo vermouth completely, saying that the perfect martini involved pouring a glass full of cold gin and looking at a bottle of vermouth. General Patton suggested pointing the gin bottle in the general direction of Italy. Alfred Hitchcock's recipe called for five parts gin and "a quick glance at a bottle of vermouth." Ernest Hemingway liked to order a "Montgomery", which was a martini mixed at a 15:1 gin-to-vermouth ratio (these supposedly being the odds Field Marshal Montgomery wanted to have before going into battle). In a classic bit of stage business in the 1955 play Auntie Mame, sophisticated pre-adolescent Patrick Dennis offers a martini, which he prepares by swirling a drop of vermouth in the glass, then tossing it out before filling the glass with gin. Similarly, in the 1958 movie Teacher's Pet, Clark Gable mixes a martini by turning the bottle of vermouth upside-down before running the moistened cork around the rim of the glass and filling it with gin. Lyndon Johnson favoured the "in-and-out martini", in which the glass is poured with vermouth, emptied, and then filled with gin.[citation needed]

Surrealist director Luis Buñuel was another supporter of the drink, including his personal recipe in his Oscar-winning 1972 film Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie and in his memoirs; his recipe consists basically of "coating the cubes", a method of imparting the flavor of vermouth by pouring the vermouth into a shaker of ice, then pouring it out before adding gin. A scene cut from the theatrical version of M*A*S*H suggested that a bottle of vermouth should "last an entire war." Sometimes atomizers similar to those used for perfume were used to dispense a token amount of vermouth.

The martini's popularity waned in the health-conscious, wine-and-spritzer-drinking 1970s, but has grown since the late 1980s. During this martini renaissance, vodka supplanted gin as the most commonly requested base spirit, and new variations proliferated: the green apple martini, the chocolate martini, etc. Whether the more extreme variations of this era may truly be called martinis remains a topic of debate. The first reference to a vodka martini in the United States occurs in the 1951 cocktail book Bottoms Up by Ted Saucier. The recipe is credited to celebrity photographer Jerome Zerbe.

Martini lore and mixology

This section may contain original researchor unverified claims.
Please improve the articleby adding references. See the talk pagefor details. (November 2007) This section needs additional citationsfor verification.
Please help improve this articleby adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challengedand removed. (November 2007) A martini made with Lillet Blanc and 3 olives

Western culture has created a virtual mythology around the martini, in part because of the many legendary historical and fictional figures who favoured it, among them Winston Churchill, Truman Capote, J. Robert Oppenheimer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the fictional James Bond. The dry martini is also sometimes called a "Silver Bullet" because it "is clear, potent and never misses its mark". According to others, a "Silver Bullet" is simply gin on the rocks with no vermouth at all.

The martini has become a symbol for cocktails and nightlife in general; American bars often have on their signs a picture of a conical martini glass garnished with an olive. In Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail, Lowell Edmunds, a classics professor and doyen of martini lore, analyzes the cocktail's symbolic potency in considerable depth.

For absolute purists, the bottle of gin, the mixing glass, and the vermouth are all at room temperature prior to mixing. This is so a small quantity of cold water is diluted into the drink when the ingredients are stirred with ice. This infusion of water particularly brings out the floral notes of juniper, gin's primary flavoring ingredient. The dilution of the cocktail also brightens the flavors, opens the nose, and allows more delicate notes to blossom on the palate. Unfortunately, many bartenders now store their gin and mixing glass in a freezer, which results in a blunter, more one-dimensional drink with an oily, soft texture. As far as frozen implements go, it is acceptable to cocktail purists to pour a martini into a frozen cocktail glass, as, by this point in the drink-making process, the dilution has already taken place.

The classic martini was stirred, "so as not to bruise the gin." W. Somerset Maugham declared that "martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other," James Bond from the Albert R. Broccoli films ordered his "shaken, not stirred", a drink properly called a Bradford.(Embury 1948, p. 101) The concept of "bruising the gin" as a result of shaking a martini is an oft-debated topic. The term comes from an older argument over whether or not to bruise the mint in preparing a mint julep. A shaken martini is different from stirred for a few reasons. The shaking action breaks up the ice and adds more water, slightly weakening the drink but also altering the taste. Some would say the shaken martini has a "more rounded" taste. Others, usually citing obscure scientific studies, say that shaking causes more of a certain class of molecules (aldehydes) to bond with oxygen, resulting in a "sharper" taste. Shaking also adds tiny air bubbles, which can lead to a cloudy drink instead of a clear one. If the drink is used as an aperitif, to cleanse the mouth before eating, the tiny air bubbles restrict the gin (or vodka) from reaching all tastebuds. This is why purists would claim that a martini should always be stirred. Some martini devotees believe the vermouth is more evenly distributed by shaking, which can alter the flavor and texture of the beverage as well. In some places, a shaken martini is referred to as a "martini James Bond" or a "007." (Fleming actually named Bond's drink the "Vesper", after the heroine of the first novel Casino Royale, though it is a specific recipe.)

The reason why James Bond takes his Martini shaken and not stirred is due to a mishap in the film version of "Casino Royal," in which Bond did not order his drink shaken, and a poison was put in his drink that nearly cost him his life. He orders the drink shaken because, in a shaken Martini, Bond would be able to see any extra solutions or ingredients that might have been added to the drink under sinister pretenses.

In a scientific study, researchers with the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada, determined in 1999 that a shaken martini is demonstrably more healthy than a stirred one. Antioxidants are known to promote health, particularly by reducing the incidence of such age-related diseases as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cataracts. Antioxidant properties are possessed by alcoholic beverages in general, including martinis; but in carefully controlled tests, the researchers determined that a shaken martini has significantly higher antioxidant properties than a stirred one. As they humorously concluded in publishing their results in the British Medical Journal, "007's profound state of health may be due, at least in part, to compliant bartenders."[10]

Martini variations

Although the vodka martini (or "kangaroo") is still popular, flavored vodka martinis are rapidly becoming a trend among new drinkers, as well as some of the vodka veterans. Unlike gin, vodka has a neutral flavor which allows it to easily mix with other flavors to make a wide variety of flavored martinis.

Bartenders are constantly creating new types of specialty cocktails using many different combinations of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, splashes of cream, and brightly colored liqueurs. Perhaps the most popular of these is the chocolate martini, where the glass used may be first decorated with swirls or patterns of chocolate syrup, and the body is prepared using cocoa-flavored vodka. A similar recipe involves vanilla in place of chocolate. These are popular in western restaurants as a digestif, rather than as an aperitif, as they serve to some extent as a substitute for dessert.

Instead of the typical cocktail olive, cocktail onion, or lemon twist, unique garnishes are being used in these new flavored martinis. These garnishes include marinated capers, fresh herbs, or olives stuffed with blue cheese, anchovies, or sun-dried tomatoes.


This drink is designated as an
IBA Official CocktailGibson Type: CocktailPrimary alcohol by volume: Served: shaken Standard garnish: silverskin onionpeel Standard drinkware: Cocktail glassIBAspecified ingredients†: Preparation:
  • Stir well in a shaker with ice, then strain into glass. Garnish and serve
Gibson recipeat International Bartenders Association

Although Charles Dana Gibson is most likely responsible for the creation of the Gibson martini (where a pickled onion serves as the garnish), the details are debated and several alternate stories exist. In one story, Gibson challenged Charley Connolly, the bartender of the Players Club in New York City, to improve upon the martini's recipe, so Connolly simply substituted an onion for the olive and named the drink after the patron. Other stories involve different Gibsons, such as an apocryphal American diplomat who served in Europe during Prohibition. Although he was a teetotaller, he often had to attend receptions where cocktails were served. To avoid an awkward situation, Gibson would ask the staff to fill his martini glass with cold water and garnish it with a small onion so that he could pick it out among the gin drinks. A similar story postulates a savvy investment banker named Gibson, who would take his clients out for the proverbial three-martini business lunches. He purportedly had the bartender serve him cold water, permitting him to remain sober while his clients became intoxicated; the cocktail onion garnish served to distinguish his beverage from those of his clients.

Another version of the origin story, included in The Good Man's Weakness by Charles McCabe, states that the drink was created in San Francisco by Walter D. K. Gibson (1864-1938) at the Bohemian Club around 1900.

A third origin story was that it was invented at Gibsons Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois.

Dirty martini

A version of the martini is the "dirty" martini in which olive brine is used in place of, or alongside, vermouth. It is also generally garnished with an olive. Additionally, the term "dusty" martini is a dirty martini that has only a fraction of the usual olive brine.

Buckeye martini

A version of the standard martini using the same amounts of gin and vermouth, substituting a black olive for the standard pimento olive.[11] [12]


A relatively recent vodka martini made with sake instead of vermouth.[13] This is a relatively recent creation, but is currently popular in high-end cocktail bars.


A vodka martini made with a vermouth infused sauerkraut stuffed olive created by Steven Lundin, CEO of BIGfrontier Communications. [14] The drink was originally created as part of the Sexy Sauerkraut campaign for the Fremont Company. The buzz about the K-tini finally gave it some invaluable exposure on ABC's "Good Morning America," where a K-tini was made on air.

Soju martini

Another new and popular drink, especially along the coasts of the U.S., is the Soju martini. This drink uses soju as the base spirit instead of gin or vodka. It is usually presented in the same style as a vodka martini, sometimes with a slice of cucumber as a garnish.[15]

Smoky martini

Gin with a splash of Scotch whisky, stirred and garnished with lemon peel.

Mexican martini

This popular Texas cocktail consists of a large margarita (tequila-based) on the rocks with a splash of olive juice, usually shaken and presented in the shaker, providing several servings poured by the drinker into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass with an olive garnish.


This popular East Tennessean drink consists entirely of vodka and pickle juice (garnish optional). It was created during the TVA initiative by poor dam workers trying to beat the intense southern heat.[16] It was believed that the drink's sour-sweet odor was an effective mosquito repellent.


The appletini, also known as the apple martini, is a cocktail containing vodka and either apple juice, apple cider, or apple liqueur. Typically, the apple vodka is shaken or stirred with a sweet and sour mix and then strained into a martini glass.


The Cuke, or Cucumber Martini, is made with Hendrick's Gin, a Scottish gin flavored with cucumber and rose petal, and which, when served neat, has cooling, cucumber notes. It is served at the "Montgomery" ratio, (15 parts gin, to one part dry vermouth), and garnished with several paper-thin slices of peeled English Cucumber.

Chocolate martini

This martini is a mix of vodka and creme de cacao. Another version of the chocolate martini is a Godiva chocolate martini which substitutes the creme de coca with Godiva chocolate liqueur.[17] A third version is a white chocolate martini which uses white creme de cacao.


The tomatini presented itself in a southern California arena. Usually created using vodka and tequilla mixed with tomato juice rather than olive juice, this nontraditional martini accentuates deep color, flavor, and texture. Usually served as an aperteur with a slice of lemon.

In popular culture

The martini tends to be subtly used in books and movies in Anglo-American culture. The best-known fictional martini drinker is Ian Fleming's James Bond, who is famous for his preferred drink, a vodka martini, very dry, "shaken, not stirred" (see above). Next best-known for fictional martini consumption are Captains Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre, characters from the film and TV series ´´M*A*S*H´´ who have their own still in their tent, "The Swamp", to meet their martini needs. Also known is Brian Griffin from Family Guy, who is often seen with martini in hand, and who tends to wonder whose leg he must hump to get served a dry martini.


  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, 10-11. ISBN 0-8118-0717-7
  3. ^ The Joy of Drinking, New York, Bloomsbury, 2007, p. 81
  4. ^ History of Fitness-for-Duty Program, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, URL last accessed October 30, 2006.
  5. ^ Robert Hess: "The Perfect Martini"
  6. ^ William Grimes, The Bartender Who Started It All, New York Times, October 31, 2007.
  7. ^ Kappeler, George J. (1895) Modern American Drinks [1]
  8. ^ Wister, Owen (1901), Philosophy 4: A Story of Harvard University; 1903 reprint, Macmillan, New York: p. 17. The character, discussing Berkeley's philosophy, says "here's another point: if color is entirely in my brain, why don't that ink-bottle and this shirt look alike to me? They ought to. And why don't a Martini cocktail and a cup of coffee taste the same to my tongue?"
  9. ^ Boothby, William "Cocktail". (1908) The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them [2]
  10. ^ Shaken, not stirred: bioanalytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis. British Medical Journal (December 18, 1999).
  11. ^ - Buckeye martini
  12. ^ - Buckeye martini
  13. ^ "Saketini: Sake Martini Recipe"
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ Melissa Kaman. "Korean liquor soju becoming a Bay Area favorite", Oakland Tribune, June 30, 2004
  16. ^ American Association for State and Local History, Society of American Historians, American Heritage; 1947, American Heritage Pub. Co., New York: p. 67.
  17. ^ Godiva Chocolate Martini recipe.


See also

External links

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