‘A martini. Shaken, not stirred’
We’re sure that you first heard about a martini when Secret Service agent James Bond mouthed his famous catchphrase in 1964’s Goldfinger.
But, while Mr Bond may prefer having his drink shaken, the martini can be savoured in multiple ways.
Interested in knowing more?
Keep reading to discover everything about this drink described as "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" by writer H.L. Mencken.
The Murky Past
Made with gin and vermouth, the drink is usually garnished with an olive or a sliver of lemon peel, which is helpful in describing it as ‘crisp’.
But, like most other classic sips, its origins are fuzzy. A widely accepted claim suggests that it is derived from a similar cocktail named Martinez, an older, sweeter recipe with two ounces of sweet vermouth, one ounce gin, two dashes maraschino cherry liquid, and one dash bitters, shaken with ice, strained, and served with a twist of lemon.
It was served 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, California. The locals believe that either a bartender at the hotel called Jerry Thomas created the drink, or that it was was named after the town itself.
The Man Behind The Martini
The inventor of the Martini might never be known, but it was certainly popularised by Harry Craddock—the man behind the influential Savoy Cocktail Book. He set down a recipe for a ‘Dry Martini’ in the book’s pages in the 1930s… and the rest as they say, is history.
Here’s how it goes
1/2 French Vermouth
1 Dash Orange Bitters
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
The Many Martinis
Interestingly, a wet martini actually means adding more dry vermouth. A dry martini will have the normal amount of dry vermouth, whereas a wet martini will have more than one part dry vermouth.
On the other hand, both shaking and stirring your martini give the same end result: chilling the cocktail down. A dirty martini uses the classic gin recipe and simply adds a little olive brine and is then generally garnished with a green olive.
The ‘Tini’ Tales
Recently, lots of new 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 classic martini glass they are served in, and generally containing vodka, they share little in common with original cocktail.
The Famous Fans
It is said that prominent figures like Frank Sinatra, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock, Winston Churchill, and F Scott Fitzgerald, were admirers of the classic cocktail.
The Licence To Swirl
Every avid admirer of James Bond is familiar with his affection for the Vesper martini. Ordered by Bond in both the book and the movie Casino Royale, he names it after Vesper Lynd, a foreign liaison agent. This is how the original recipe goes.
90 ml Gordon's Gin
30 ml vodka
15 ml dry vermouth
Lemon peel, for garnish
1. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker
2. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with a large piece of lemon peel.
We got the 007 theme playing in your head didn’t we? Well go ahead and shake yourself a martini as you hum along to it but, remember to drink responsibly!