The Martini

Martini

Source

History of the Martini

California, New York, or London? Where did the martini originate? It seems the answer to that question is not only unclear, but up for debate. There are those that believe it originated in California after the Gold Rush had begun. This group believes it was named after a man named Martinez, even here there is confusion, because some say named after the man named Martinez while others say it was named after the town of Martinez. Either way, it was actually published in The Bartender's Manual of 1880. I had no idea bartender's guides were published that long ago!

Then there is the San Francisco theory. This theory believes it was served at the Occidental Hotel as early as 1860 and travelers heading to Martinez, the town, brought it with them. The gold mining town of Martinez that is.

Remember Martini & Rossi? Surely some of you remember the commercials before they were pulled from TV? They made vermouth and some say that was how the martini got it's name back in the mid-1800s. Of course there is the Manhattan theory. A bartender and Italian immigrant in 1911, in NYC whose first name happened to be Martini, is said to have invented the drink for Nelson D. Rockefeller.

Then there are those that say it originated in London in 1922. Although, some would say it didn't originate then and there, but was perfected then and there.

It's really anybody's guess which story is true. I don't think any of the theories have actually been documented.

“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.”

— Johnny Carson

Appeltini

Source

The Martini in America

So, for those drinkers in the audience, they may call the martini the all American cocktail. I have to admit to not being a drinker and never having had a martini, but I read and watch movies so I know about martinis.

Martinis are half gin and half vermouth. Simple as that, except when you're making a "dry martini", in a dry martini there is less vermouth. In fact, in a very dry martini the mixologist may just put vermouth in the glass, swish it around, and dump it out, filling the glass with gin.

On Whatscookingamerica.net the recipe for a classic martini calls for two ounces of gin and one half ounce of dry vermouth. It also adds a large olive and a lemon twist. Did you know a dirty martini is when a bit of olive juice is added?

Due to the popularity of martinis there have been experiments with various additions. For example, you can get an Appletini - a martini with apple juice, apple schnapps, or Sour Apple Pucker (a liquer). How about a Chocolate Martini? Like the Appletini there are different variations on the chocolate theme, like using actual chocolate, creme de cacao, or chocolate liqueur. There's even a chocolate flavored vodka you could now use in place of gin!

According to mensjournal.com, "That there is even a debate still to this day about vodka versus gin martinis speaks volumes about just how versatile and nuanced martinis are, even with so few ingredients."

Good old American know how will continually improve, or destroy, the martini depending on how you look at it.

Do You Like the Variations on Martinis?

5 stars from 4 ratings of Martini

Martinis in the Movies

When you think of martinis in the movies, what is the first movie that comes to mind? If you said James Bond, go to the top of the class. In Dr. No, Mr. Bond says he wants his martini "shaken, not stirred." In You Only Live Twice Bond Bond doesn't ask for the martini that is stirred, not shaken, but he makes no comment when he gets it. The first time he actually orders a martini is in Goldfinger. Bond mixes his own martini in the new movie, Spectre.

Back in 1934 William Powell as Nick Charles shows the bartender how to shake a martini. The movie was The Thin Man.

Who can forget the 'home made' martinis in M*A*S*H*. Trapper in reply to Hawkeye asking him if he'd like a martini and giving him one without an olive:

Trapper (Holding it, skeptically): Don't you use olives?
Duke: Olives? Where the hell you think you are, man?
Hawkeye: We do have to make certain concessions to the war. We're three miles from the front line.
Trapper: Yes, but a man really can't savor his martini without an olive, you know. (To their amazement, he pulls out an olive jar from inside his parka.) Otherwise, you see it just doesn't quite (holding an olive over his martini, which he has set on the floor, he aims and drops it) make it.

In the movie You've Got Mail, the main character, Joe mixes two martinis while on the yacht with his father.

In the movie, North by Northwest, Cary Grant orders a martini when he is talking to Eva Marie Saint on the train.

In the Wolf of Wall Street, when Belfort is taken to lunch with his boss, his boss orders two Abolut martinis.

I've certainly not covered all movies with martinis in them, but you get the idea.

Ingredients for Classic Martini

  • 2.5 oz Gin
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • olive for garnish

Instructions (What to do with the Ingredients)

  1. Pour vermouth into a chilled martini glass and swirl, then dump vermouth into a shaker full of ice. Add gin to the vermouth and ice, shake or stir - your choice. Strain into glass and garnish with olive(s).
  2. Remember to insure your martini is ice cold! (You might want to chill the glass.)

Bronx Cocktail

A Perfect Martini with orange juice added.
A Perfect Martini with orange juice added. | Source

Different Types of Martinis

Above I mentioned two variations on the classic martini. Here is a list of several more:

  • The Martinez
  • Swig
  • Hemingway Martini
  • The Vesper
  • Gibson
  • Lemon Drop
  • Sir Winston Churchill
  • Goldfinger

Just a sampling of the different kinds of martinis. Like the two I listed the paragraph above, there is a variation on the ingredients. For example, The Martinez uses Don Eduardo Reposado, Cointreau, sugar and fresh lime juice. The Lemon Drop uses Skyy Citrus, fresh lime juice, and sugar with a sugar rim. So I would hazard to guess there are as many variations on the martini as there are people.

I guess the sky's the limit if you're a martini person. Oh, don't forget the glass! It isn't a proper martini if it isn't served in a martini glass. Despite what most restaurants and bars use, a martini glass does NOT need to be twelve ounces. The style of the glass is more important. Having a nice long stem to hold onto with that triangular shape, that's what makes a martini glass. While you're at it, you might want to buy a better grade of olive too. A nice Spanish olive would suit.

Martini Variations

Proportions
Gin or Vermouth, Or
Garnish
Less vermouth than normal
Gin, vodka, Kina Lillet aperitif
Olive
Equal parts gin and vermouth
Vodka in place of Gin
Onion
Equal parts sweet and dry vermouth
 
Olive juice (from the jar)
More vermouth than gin
 
Apple juice

I am certainly not advocating for the martini or any other alcoholic beverage, however, if the martini is your drink of choice, I hope you have found this interesting. As you can see from my opening paragraphs, martinis have been around for a while and it looks like they're here to stay.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved.

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37 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 18 months ago from Central Florida

I don't care for martinis; I don't like gin or vermouth. As you stated, today's martinis are much different from what our parents knew them to be.

This is an interesting article, Mary. I had no idea martinis date back to the 1800s.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

Considering the fact that I have consumed more than my body weight in alcohol, it's a bit surprising that I've never had a martini. Too late now for this boy. :) Enjoy your Memorial Day, Mary. Drink one for me.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Tillie.....You handled this one like a PRO....."mixologist," that is. Very very interesting and you get 5 stars for coming up with such a unique topic.

Being from a "Restaurant" family, and literally growing up in the business, I was pretty much expected to attend the official course and acquire a mixology license to know my way around the "bar" (legal beverage side of the business)

Back in the day, when I did imbibe now and then, I've sampled Martinis as well as many other "cocktails." WOO! It is one powerful glass of FIRE! In fact IMO, it's a really good substitute for kerosine if you happen to need some to light a campfire! LOL

Voted up & across the board....but definitely not funny GF!!!!


DJ Anderson 18 months ago

In my day, I've had many different types of martinis. One of the best was a watermelon martini. That was three years ago, and the last martini that I've had. Rarely do I drink, these days. When I do, it is something

fruity with a little umbrella on top. However, nothing can beat my never ending glass of Chrystal Light Peach Iced Tea.

Your article was most interesting as I have never read up on the history

of the martini. Like many, I assumed that it came straight out of the James Bond movies.

Nice article, Mary.

DJ.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

I have tried quite a few different alcoholic drinks in my time Mary, but never a martini. James Bond certainly made it famous however. I guess my favourite drink would be a marguerita (similar glass). Very interesting and different hub. Voted up.


Lee Cloak 18 months ago

Great hub, i am a big James Bond fan, a friend of mine has a bar in Germany, he thaught me how to make Martini's very late one night or very early one morning but i was so drunk i couldent remember how, super easy to follow recipe, very well done, thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 18 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Well, like Bill, I have never had a martini. My education is obviously not complete as here I have learned so much about a Martini. It may be the most famous of drinks, I can’t think of another that has equal brand recognition. Sure some come close, I haven’t had any of them either.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 18 months ago from United States

A super fun hub! It makes me want a very dry martini, one olive. Yum!


annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England

This is a great hub full of interesting information, Mary.

I'm not that keen on Martinis but I do like a gin and tonic, especially with ice and a slice (of lemon).

You've covered it all here - films, quotes, recipe - brilliant!

Ann


Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

Matt Easterbrook5 18 months ago from Oregon

Mary very good hub. If I was a Martini drinker I would have been happy to get your recipe. Thanks for sharing it. I did find your hub to be interesting and useful and I am sure the drinkers of America really will enjoy it.

Thanks for sharing,

Matt


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Full of interesting tidbits of information, Mary. The times I've had one I could count on one hand, although, a few years ago, I enjoyed a couple of Appletinis. Maybe one too many. Not these days. Can't do that anymore. I do watch Bar Rescue and they show that a Martini should not be shaken since it makes the drink cloudy, despite the preferences of the infamous James Bond.

Voted up and interesting. Love the photos.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

I'm with you Sha! I didn't get to see the 1880's manual so who knows what it was like back then.

Well Bill, I've had a few in my time (drinks, not martinis) but it was a very long time ago. Never had any interest in a martini either. Hope you had a great weekend.

Paula, you never cease to amaze me. I would never have pictured use as a "mixologist", more of a "throw-ologist" for people not behaving in your restaurant or bar. Thanks for the votes GF. We could have tea together ;)

DJ, I guess we're the Crystal Light generation! Our days of booze, "if you mess with booze you're sure to lose", are over, and we learned that the hard way.

Thanks Jonah. Yes, Bond certainly made the martini a celebrity but its never gonna be on my top ten list.

Mike, I'm like you, but I do like to learn about things I hear so much about.

Dirt Farmer, would that be a dirty martini ;)

Glad you enjoyed Ann. The more I researched the more I found there was to learn about the martini.

Thanks Matt. I hope the non-drinkers will enjoy it too.

Peg, those days are gone for many of us. I did read about not shaking a martini but I guess it all depends on taste. Thanks for the votes and glad you liked the photos.


Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

Matt Easterbrook5 18 months ago from Oregon

I did enjoy the history of the Martini and your hub overall.

Great job and kept my attention as a reader!

Matt


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Matt, so glad my research paid off. Thanks for reading.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 18 months ago from london

Well, Mary, a nice Martini. Cool. I had an odd glass or half, some moons ago. Tasted nice. Interesting topic. I wrote a poem on the mango and another on the bath soap, so I guess Martini will do. Perhaps I should do a poem, hey.

Nice Hub and interesting topic. Won't really know or how it came into being. Both name and town would seem to make sense. Much love.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

I have never had a martini most likely because I don't like gin. I know of the Martini through watching movies. I believe the younger generation of today has their own Apple Martinis and maybe they have a better taste, surely?

I have always wondered what makes the Martini so appealing to some. Maybe one has to develop a taste for it. I have had to develop a taste for Tonic water due to suffering with terrible cramps in my fee, toes and legs since I was a teenager. All the doctors say is "That is strange" LOL, but not so funny to me, but anyway one doctor finally told me to drink Tonic water (without the gin, of course) and you know it actually helps, as does magnesium. Well, I am getting off topic here.

Thanks for the interesting history on the Martini, Mary.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 18 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Food history fascinates me. Now I'll be looking up drink history. Good job, and tasty looking photo.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 18 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

If one is thirsty for info on a martini, this is the place to come...very well detailed, dear Mary.

Not my cup of tea - these days, I'd rather have a cup of tea (LOL).

Voted UP and UABI. Happy Memorial Day. Love and hugs, Maria


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

Manatita my friend, I would never think of you as a martini kind of guy! Your poems are spiritual and beautiful, but knowing you, you could do justice to the martini in a poem!

Faith, I'm with you. I don't like gin or vermouth. Tonic water for your leg cramps? I had heard quinine water. I'm surprised the tonic water works. Do you have to drink it every day? You should write a hub about that!

Glad to give you something else to look up Rebecca ;)

My dear Maria, I'm with you. Perhaps we should have a tea party. Get all the girls together and celebrate with tea! I appreciate your votes, but most of all I appreciate you. Sending love and hugs right back your way!


mary615 profile image

mary615 18 months ago from Florida

My Hubby enjoyed a Martini at the end of his work day, but I could never stand the taste of them. He kept saying one has to develop a taste for it, but I never could. We Southern folks prefer our sweet tea to alcohol.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

Yes, Mary, it is actually the quinine in the tonic water that helps the terrible cramps. I didn't know there is just quinine water, so I will need to search for it. It may be a good topic for a hub?


always exploring profile image

always exploring 18 months ago from Southern Illinois

I have never had a martini. I hate olives, yuck. Interesting hub. A little vodka and 7 up is my choice of drink. Thank's for the info. A lot of famious people like martinis...


drbj profile image

drbj 18 months ago from south Florida

What a great shtory, Mary. And shuper researsch. I never drinksh but the next time I do, I'll be shure to order a martooni, er, martinee, er, matinee ... one of those.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

I'm not from the south Mary but I'd rather have ice tea than a martini any day.

Faith I now there once was, my sister-in-laws mother used to drink it, quinine water that is. I think it would be an interesting hub a lot of us get leg cramps, or "charlie horses" as they're sometimes called.

Ruby, as you can see from my answers to other comments, I'm not a drinker, but yes, Martinis are the drink of the wealthy.

Well drbj, I seem to have exceed the limitations of your libations! Thanks for stopping by.


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 18 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Nice and interesting hub, Mary. Thanks for this share. Well presented with many important facts. Shared and voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Deergha. It was fun for me to learn and write about. I appreciate your votes and share.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

after a few martini's I wouldn'r care where they came from.. just so long as they keep filling my glass..LOL a wonderful share Til, shaken not stirred.. hell, I take them either way.. shaken while being stirred... Lol


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

Or Frank, stirred while being shaken? Good to see you and your humor here!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

touche' LOL


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida

It's so long since I had a martini. You made me long for that crisp taste. But I can't drink much anymore. My body just can't handle alcohol --gotten too old, I guess.


janshares profile image

janshares 18 months ago from Washington, DC

This was just a cool, fun read, tillsontitan. The picture of the Martini's grabbed me and pulled me into the article. The photographer brilliantly made the photograph look as cool and crisp as a Martini. I've never had one, not my drink of choice but liked this hub and the originality of the content. Up, useful, and interesting.


alifeofdesign profile image

alifeofdesign 18 months ago from New Hamphire

Mary, FUN hub! I'm a big fan of a very dirty, dry, three-olive martini ;) You have always chosen some wonderful topics to write about - much enjoyed....cheers!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

Catherine I think as we age alcohol becomes less appealing as well. Maybe a glass of wine...glad I could stir up those memories though.

Jan you made my hub sound so good! I was lucky to find some interesting photos. Thanks for the votes.

Alifeofdesign, so glad I found something you're a fan of, three olives, wow! Glad you enjoyed. Have a great day.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I don't drink, but found this most entertaining with all the info. Bottoms up and cheers!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York Author

I'm with you Deb, and that's what I thought! Thanks for stopping by.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Very cool overview of the history of Martinis.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 17 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Larry. It was fun to research.

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