Martini with lemon garnish and salt rim
The Dazzling History Of The Martini
The martini is a timeless classic that has become a signifier of cosmopolitan sophistication, and it has an intriguing and diverse history.
While the exact origin of the cocktail is unknown, it’s widely accepted that the Martini evolved from the Martinez cocktail made of gin, sweet vermouth, curaçao, and orange bitters.
The first Martini dates back to 1888 in Harry Johnson's "Bartender Manual," with a recipe of sweet gin, sweet vermouth, Boker's bitters, gum, curaçao, and a lemon twist.
Over time, the drink became less sweet, and during Prohibition, it was simply made with equal parts bathtub gin and vermouth, which was used to mask the gin’s taste.
Since vermouth was primarily made in France and Italy, whose vineyards were decimated during the World Wars, the amount of vermouth in the cocktail slowly decreased.
While traditionalists assert that gin martinis are the only way to go, vodka began to rise in popularity, and by the 1950s, the vodka martini was born.
Another common variation is the addition of olive brine for a “dirty” martini, which had been created at the dawn of the 20th century but became popular in the 1980s.
Today, martinis come in many variations including espresso martinis, appletinis, or chocolate martinis, which swap out vermouth for other sweet liqueurs.