World Martini Day 2022

We discuss why the classic Martini has stood the test of time.

Published: 18th June 2022

Saturday the 18th of June is World Martini Day 2022. It’s a global celebration of all things Martini related. Up until 2021, the day didn’t have a dedicated website or promotion in any official capacity. Thanks to a few Martini loving friends and collaborators, time, investment and a genuine love for the cocktail, the first official World Martini Day took place in June 2021 and saw a day that provided a chance for consumers and industry to celebrate the Martini and all its various riffs.

To celebrate World Martini Day 2022, we asked mixologists from some of the world’s best bars and our friends in Scottish Gin why they believe the Martini as a cocktail has stood the test of time and what they believe makes the perfect martini.

World Martini Day 2022 is a global celebration of all things Martini related. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
The Martini is a classic cocktail, created to be enjoyed and savoured. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Cairngorm Gin

When he launched Cairngorm Gin in 2019, founder and distiller Jack Smith was the youngest brand owner and distiller in Scottish Gin. With a culinary background, Jack was well aware of the importance of flavour and balance, sweet verses bitter/sour, presentation and the importance of ingredients. And like any good chef, he used his understanding of these key elements to refine both his recipe and brand. The result was Cairngorm Scottish Highland Gin, the very first Scottish Gin to use locally foraged cloudberry as a key botanical. The gin also features locally foraged Caledonian pine and a number of classic gin botanicals.

Cairngorm Gin founder Jack Smith. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
Cairngorm Gin features locally foraged cloudberries, elderflower and Caledonian pine. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“That’s an easy one… if it’s good enough for James Bond… joking aside, it’s a fuss free cocktail primarily using using only two ingredients. It’s a cocktail that leaves very little room for poor spirits or poor execution, but the beauty is with practice and patience, anyone can make a speculator Martini. I would hazard a guess that anyone who loves a good quality gin will be able to appreciate the Martini. It’s clean, crisp, refreshing and definitely a cocktail that made right, let’s wonderful botanicals in a gin shine through, including Cairngorm Gin.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“For me, it needs to be served ice cold in a classic martini glass with either a single olive or lemon twist. Although we have been known to serve Cairngorm Gin with an orange twist!”

Jack Smith, Founder and Distiller, Cairngorm Gin Company

Martini with lemon twist garnish. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
Classic Martini served with olives. Pic: Used under licence

Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

Flying Dutchman Cocktails is owned by Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse and sits in the heart of Amsterdam and features one of the largest back bars in the Netherlands with over 800 spirits. Focused on neo-classical cocktails, the team are committed to not only making some of the best cocktails in Amsterdam but educating drinkers about the origins of the many classics that appear on the menu. But more than simply slinging and shaking, the team are part of a new wave of Dutch mixologists who are shaping Dutch cocktail culture, which is evident when the bar made it onto the top 100 as part of The World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2021.

Laura Klimait, Bartender, Flying Dutchmen Cocktails. Pic: Courtesy of Flying Dutchmen Cocktails
Flying Dutchmen Cocktails in Amsterdam features over 800 spirits on its back bar, making it one of the biggest selections of spirits available in the Netherlands. Pic: Courtesy of Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“Because of its simplicity and versatility at the same time. Only a few ingredients can be served in so many different variations regarding your personal taste: vodka or gin, a ratio of the vermouth to the main spirit, olive or lemon zest, stirred or shaken. All these steps make it a very intimate and distinctive pick, that can tell a little bit extra about your guest.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“The first thing that comes to my mind is the right temperature: served as cold as possible! Cold glassware and a very cold drink. And then it’s totally up to the drinker, at the end of the day it’s all about pleasure. Personally, I can never say no to olive in mine, and always prefer London Dry Gin over vodka.”

Laura Klimait, Bartender, Flying Dutchman Cocktails

A classic Martini served with an olive garnish. Pic: Courtesy of Flying Dutchmen Cocktails
Flying Dutchmen Cocktails is situated in the heart of Amsterdam. Pic: Courtesy of Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

G.H.Q. Spirits

G.H.Q. Spirits was established by James McNeill in 2020. With his time in the events and hospitality industry, James saw the opportunity to create a brand and range of spirits, including gin and vodka, that tied his family history with premium Scottish spirits. Working closely with the team at Lost Loch Spirits Distillery on the spirits development, James created his spirits to be flavoursome, classic but flexible, lending themselves to both classic long drinks like the gin and tonic along and cocktails including the Martini.

James McNeill, founder and owner of G.H.Q. Spirits. Pic: Courtesy of G.H.Q. Spirits
G.H.Q. Gin. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“A Martini is a classic cocktail and the classics never die. It’s a cocktail that is imprinted in history and culture. The silver screen, the stage and literature has featured the Martini probably more than any other cocktail, perhaps bar the gin and tonic, but is a testament to the reputation the Martini has accrued over the last 110 or so years. Sophisticated. Delicious. Timeless.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“It’s the beauty of the Martini that it’s a drink with so many variations and nuances that if you’re prepared to spend the time, you can find a Martini that suits your palate. Also the quality of ice, the temperature, glassware, garnish, the setting all can make or break a Martini. For me, a Martini should be balanced with all the parts playing a role that complement and enhance each element. My personal preference is a vesper, and I am of course going to seem biased but I love a G.H.Q. Gin and G.H.Q. Vodka, lillet blonde. The sassy attitude for shaking it is optional!”

James McNeill, Founder, G.H.Q. Spirits

The Espresso Martini was created in the early eighties in London by the late Dick Bradsel. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
The Martinez is the precursor to the Martini and uses gin and sweet vermouth, plus other elements (depending who you talk to!), garnished with a twist of orange. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Dante NYC

Originally opening its doors in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1905, Caffe Dante has been a regular spot for many generations in the Village neighbourhood for over 115 years. When Australians Nathalie Hudson and Linden Pride took over ownership in 2015, they knew how much the venue meant to the neighbourhood. Having to balance family life and running a business of any kind is a tough gig. Especially when working evenings and weekends, but undeterred, Nathalie and Linden have sympathetically maintained the spirit of the original Caffe Dante, now simply known as Dante, and have continued to refine what a neighbourhood cocktail bar can be, covering food and snacks along with world class cocktails and hospitality. Nathalie and Linden’s passion for what they do is evident by not only the accolades Dante has received including topping the list of The World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019 but along with attracting a large number of international visitors, they also attract a large contingency of neighbourhood regulars. Relaxed, friendly and open to all.

Linden Pride, Co-owner, Dante NYC. Pic: Courtesy of Dante, Credit: Kat Sheldon
Dante has been a regular neighbourhood hangout in New York’s Greenwich Village for over 115 years. Pic: Unknown

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“The Martini has stood the test of time because it’s a simple cocktail – pure and clean. It’s easy to romanticize the feeling of sophistication whilst drinking a Martini, as well as the ritual surrounding the drink. Though countless variations of this classic cocktail have risen in popularity over the years, we’ve found that the classic Martini – in its traditional guise as an elegant marriage of gin and vermouth, has returned. It’s back to basics, with a focus on quality.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“The perfect Martini is strong, cold, bracing, complex and yet simple at its core.”

Linden Pride, Co-owner, Dante NYC

Dante Dirty Martini. Pic: Courtesy of Dante, Credit: Giada Paoloni
Dante Martini with a twist. Pic: Courtesy of Dante, Credit: Giada Paoloni

Mackintosh Gin

A family business from the offset that put the family name front and centre of the brand and business, the clan Mackintosh need no introduction to those in the gin community. Launching with their signature Mackintosh Gin in 2018, co-founders James and Deborah (or Jim and Debs to their friends) worked closely with award-winning distiller Lewis Scothorn who helped the couple bring their ideas to life. Debs had been enjoying more gin expressions but had yet to find the perfect gin for her palate and set out on a journey into the world of Scottish Gin with her other half Jim. And in time, this journey also saw their three daughters get involved with both production and brand ambassador roles. And as most dads would do… deliveries, logistics and most of the heavy lifting were left to the potential future son-in-laws. Over the next 2 years Mackintosh Gin launched an Old Tom and a Navy Strength with each expression unique in its own right. 

In 2021, Mackintosh Gin collaborated with Martini Club UK who created three outstanding Martini riffs that featured all three Mackintosh gins along with a number of other Scottish spirit producers including Loch Ness Spirits Absinthe and Great British Vermouth as part of their International Scottish Gin Day 2021 celebrations. The Martinis included a Burnt Martini featuring Wermod Dry Vermouth and Laphroaig 10 Islay Single Malt. The Martini 1888 featured Mackintosh Old Tom, Valentian Vermouth Rosso, Loch Ness Absinthe and Boker’s Bitters. The Tablet Martini featured Butter-washed Mackintosh Original, Sweetened Wermod Dry Vermouth and Lactic Acid.

Jim and Debs Macintosh, Co-founders of Mackintosh Gin. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
Mackintosh Gin Tablet Martini featured butter-washed Mackintosh Original, Sweetened Wermod Dry Vermouth and Lactic Acid. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“It really is a timeless classic that is simple to make yet beautiful to drink. Varying the ratios and enjoying a garnish of choice allows the drink to be personal and enjoyed by the individual.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“Quality spirits, good glassware and the perfect temperature! A perfect Martini requires a quality gin and a quality vermouth, and quality bitters if using them. The glassware needs to good to showcase the drink, not too large or too small, We like a Nick and Nora glass at Mackintosh HQ. The temperature needs to be freezing cold! We place our glasses in the freezer before pouring and use clear ice when stirring the drink before serving. If we are drinking a few Martinis or enjoying with friends at home, we will premix the drink and put a batched bottle into the freezer and enjoy throughout the evening!”

Jim Mackintosh, Co-founder Mackintosh Gin

Mackintosh Gin Navy Strength Martini. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
Mackintosh Gin x Martini Club UK x ISGD Collaboration from 2021. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Crossbill Distilling

Amongst one of the earliest wave of Scottish Gin producers, Crossbill Distilling uses a variety of Scottish botanicals, sensibly and sustainably foraged in the Cairngorms National Park, that feature in their core range of gins. Originally distilled in the Highlands before relocating to its current home in Glasgow’s Barras. The fact that the team behind the business know their Martinez from their Dirty Martini may come as no surprise with all the flavour elements of the signature Crossbill Gin making a mean Martini.

Stuart Caldow, Crossbill Distilling. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
Signature Crossbill Gin features only two botanicals, Scottish Juniper and Rosehip. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Why do you think the Martini cocktail has stood the test of time?

“You will probably have heard this before – “it is timeless” – and you will have heard that before, because it is true. It may only contain 2 main parts and it can be seen as a simple cocktail to make but it can be so versatile and satisfy many different palates. Whether you like Dry, Wet, Dirty or direct, there will be a martini that you will enjoy.”

What makes the perfect Martini?

“For me, the perfect martini is a well-balanced drink that is spirit forward so you want to appreciate the quality ingredients used. Stirred down so it is super cold but not over diluted. It can be a simple cocktail to make on paper but difficult to master. The garnish can be what really sets off the martini and this could be personal preference really. Like I said before, it is versatile so if you love olives over fresh lemon peel go for it.”

Stuart Caldow, Crossbill Distilling

Scottish Juniper, foraged from the Cairngorms. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative
The Hatchery, Crossbill Distillery & Gin School. Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative

Read a brief history and recipe of the Martini here.

Visit The Gin Cooperative Martini Guide here.

Learn more about the creators of World Martini Day here. The Future of Gin Scottish Gins