For the month of February I will be talking about the martini and a couple of variations of Martini’s including next week the Dirty Martini, on February 21st the Espresso Martini and on February 28, a new take on a classic that you probably have not had.
I have done several of these cocktails in my first year with the About Mansfield Podcast, but we have so many new listeners that I am redoing them for you, my audience
The History of the Martini
The martini is one of the most iconic cocktails ever created. This smooth, chilled drink featuring gin and vermouth has been a staple of cocktail culture since the late 1800s.
Like so many of our classic cocktails, The exact origins of the martini are murky, but most agree it evolved from the Martinez cocktail, which was likely invented sometime between 1860-1880. The Martinez consisted of gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters. It was essentially a sweet gin cocktail mixed with vermouth.
During the 1880s, as the gin craze swept America, the Martinez evolved into a drier, simpler drink - the martini. This new cocktail dropped the maraschino liqueur and upped the gin ratio.
The first known printed recipe for a "martini" appeared in 1888, calling for 2 parts gin and 1 part sweet vermouth.
Where did the name “martini” come from? Again, no one knows for sure. It may have evolved from the Martinez name. One legend claims it was named after the Martini & Rossi brand of sweet vermouth. Another says it was christened at New York City’s Knickerbocker Hotel by a bartender named Martini di Arma di Tagga.
By the early 1900s, the modern dry martini was born, with just a hint of vermouth to flavor the gin. Famous literary drinkers like Ernest Hemingway preferred a 15:1 ratio of gin to vermouth in their martinis.
The martini rose to prominence during Prohibition in the 1920s when gin and homemade vermouth were abundant. After Prohibition, martini culture continued thriving. The famous martini glass shape became popular in the 1950s and cemented the drink as a sophisticated classic.
From the 1960s onward, vodka began replacing gin in martini recipes, birthing drinks like the vodka martini and cosmopolitan. However, traditional gin martinis have stood the test of time and remain a staple of bars and cocktail lounges.
- 2.5 oz high-quality gin
- 0.5 oz dry vermouth
- Green olive or lemon twist for garnish
Martini or coupe glass
Step 1 - Chill your glassware. Place your martini or coupe glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before making your drink. This frosty glass will keep your martini ice cold. Or a quicker way if to fill your Martini glass with ice and water and let stand.
Step 2 - Fill mixing glass with ice
Add ice cubes to your mixing glass. The more ice, the better - it dilutes and chills the drink.
Step 3 - Add the gin and vermouth
Pour 2.5 oz of your preferred gin into the mixing glass. Make sure it's high-quality, smooth gin.
Add just 0.5 oz of dry, white vermouth. A little vermouth balances the botanicals in gin, but you don't want to overpower the gin flavor.
Step 4 - Stir (don't shake!)
Stir the gin and vermouth together briskly for 30 seconds. This gently chills the martini without making it cloudy. Shaking makes martinis foamy.
Step 5 - Strain into chilled glass
Place your strainer over the mixing glass and strain the gin and vermouth into the chilled martini or coupe glass.
Step 6 - Garnish
Finish with either a green olive or a lemon twist garnish. Run the lemon peel around the rim and mist the oil over the drink.
Sip your ice-cold martini and enjoy the smooth botanical flavors! Don't let it sit - drink a martini when it's freshly mixed.
Make sure to use the best ingredients and the proper techniques, and you'll have a classic gin martini made to perfection. Adjust ratios and garnishes to suit your tastes. Sip this iconic cocktail and transport back to a glamorous era!
As always I am open to hear your take and your input. You can reach me at [email protected]