A brief history and recipe.

Published: 13th May 2020

Martini – a brief history

Like most classic and long-standing cocktails, the birth and makeup of the Martini is not precise. It is understood to have evolved from the Martinez and if you look back to the late 1800s, there are many variations of the Martini, not always entitled the Martini but now translated as such. Early variations tended to include more ingredients, like maraschino or curaçao and sometimes even sugar syrup! Many used old tom gins and encouraged equal measures of gin and dry vermouth. Of course, as time progressed the Martini became more dry, hence “Dry Martini”, typically using 1 part vermouth to 5/6/7 parts gin and nothing else with exception of a lemon twist or olive garnish. And while most of the other ingredients have fallen away, some still opt to use orange bitters.

There are literally hundreds of variations on a Martini but if we’re talking about the real, classic dry Martini then it’s another simple, understated gin cocktail with very few ingredients and minimum fuss. However, as always, the experts will argue how it should be prepared. Most agree that too many people make the mistake of using too much vermouth. In fact, some simply coat ice with vermouth in a mixing glass and throw away the excess liquid before adding the gin. To find your preferred ratio, you can always start with a few drops of vermouth and add to taste. Stir, don’t shake, over ice (the longer the better) and garnish with a twist of lemon, although some prefer an olive. And a chilled martini glass is a must.

Read a brief history of the Martinez, the precursor to the Martini, here.




Lemon twist or green olive


Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass then strain into a chilled glass, preferably a Martini or Nick & Nora.

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