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The Martini

Updated on May 25, 2015



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



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 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, "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

Gin or Vermouth, Or
Less vermouth than normal
Gin, vodka, Kina Lillet aperitif
Equal parts gin and vermouth
Vodka in place of Gin
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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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Larry. It was fun to research.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very cool overview of the history of Martinis.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

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

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      4 years 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!

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years 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.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years 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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      touche' LOL

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • dghbrh profile image


      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years 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.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years 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...

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years 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?

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years 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.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 years 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

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

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

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years 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.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years 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.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 

      4 years ago from Oregon

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

      Great job and kept my attention as a reader!


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of 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.

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 

      4 years 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,


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years 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!


    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      4 years ago from United States

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

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years 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.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 

      4 years 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

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years 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.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 

      4 years 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.


    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years 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!!!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years 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.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years 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.


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