Martini (cocktail)

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Martini ( Dry )
IBA Official Cocktail
The martini is one of the most widely known cocktails, shown here with its two main ingredients
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard garnish Olive or lemon peel
Standard drinkware
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients
Preparation Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive.
Martini ( Dry ) recipe at International Bartenders Association

The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth. Sometimes, vodka is substituted for gin, although this is properly called a vodka martini. The drink is almost always garnished with an olive or, less commonly, a sliver of lemon peel. It is often described as being "crisp". Over the years, the martini has become one of the most well-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken once called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet",[1] and E. B. White called it "the elixir of quietude".[2] It is the drink of the one-time "three-martini lunch" of business executives, now largely abandoned as part of companies' "fitness for duty"[3] programs.

The martini is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.


[edit] Preparation

While variations are many, a standard modern martini is an approximate four to one ratio, made by combining approximately two ounces (or 55ml) of Gin, and approximately half an ounce (or 15ml) of dry vermouth. Some prefer somewhat less vermouth—about a five or six to one proportion of gin to vermouth. Many bartending schools insist that a cocktail shaker tends to dull the taste of the vermouth,[citation needed] and some argue that it sharpens the taste of gin by "bruising" the liquid. However, it is relatively common to see a bartender mix a martini with a shaker due in part to the influence of popular cultural figures such as the fictional super-spy James Bond, who asked for his vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred" (such a martini is traditionally referred to as a "Bradford"[citation needed]), and super-sleuth Nick Charles (William Powell) in The Thin Man (1934), who instructed a bartender, "A dry Martini you always shake to waltz time." The ingredients are mixed then strained and served "straight up" (without ice) in a chilled cocktail glass, and garnished with either a green olive or a twist of lemon (a strip of the peel, usually squeezed or twisted to express volatile oils onto the surface of the drink).

While the standard martini may call for a four to one ratio of distilled spirits to vermouth, aficionados of the dry martini may reduce the proportion of vermouth drastically for a drier martini. Connoisseurs boast of sweetening the cocktail by merely coating the glass with vermouth. The legend holds that Churchill would get as close to the vermouth bottle as to "look at it from across the room". On the other hand, some experts strongly object to this practice, arguing that a cocktail with one predominant ingredient is no cocktail at all, and furthermore, that the term "dry" has nothing to do with the gin-to-vermouth ratio, but with the use of dry, white, French vermouth instead of sweet, red, Italian vermouth.[4]

A more recent development that further offends martini purists is the use of "martini" (or the suffix "-tini") to refer to any beverage served in a cocktail glass, such as the appletini, the chocolatini, or the pineapple martini.

[edit] Martini origins and mixology

During the days of the California Gold Rush, in 1849, a miner struck it rich and was returning to San Francisco. The miner, arriving in Martinez, the first large town he hit, wanted to celebrate. He walked into our leading bar and asked for Champagne, a beverage which was not available. However, the bartender told him (the miner) that he had something much better than Champagne and served a drink which the bartender said was a "Martinez Special". The miner liked the drink and ordered for the house. After he woke up, some time later, he proceeded on to San Francisco where he immediately went to a prominent bar and ordered a "Martinez Special". The bartender of course had never heard of the drink and asked the miner how it was made and where he had heard of the drink. The miner said that the drink was made with one part of very dry Sauterne wine and three parts of Gin, stir with ice and finish with an olive and was made in Martinez. The bartender tried the drink himself and liked it and of course had his friends drink it. Over a period of years the name Martinez became Martini.[1]

A martini made with Lillet Blanc and 3 olives speared by a toothpick

Western culture has created a virtual mythology around the martini, in part because of the many legendary historical and fictional figures who favoured it, among them Winston Churchill, Truman Capote, J. Robert Oppenheimer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the fictional James Bond. The dry martini is also sometimes called a "silver bullet" because it "is clear, potent and never misses its mark". According to others, a "silver bullet" is simply gin on the rocks with no vermouth at all.

The martini has become a symbol for cocktails and nightlife in general; American bars often have on their signs a picture of a conical martini glass garnished with an olive. In Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail, Lowell Edmunds, a classics professor and doyen of martini lore, analyzes the cocktail's symbolic potency in considerable depth.

For absolute purists, the bottle of gin, the mixing glass, the vermouth and orange bitters are all at room temperature prior to mixing. This is so a small quantity of cold water is diluted into the drink when the ingredients are stirred with ice. This infusion of water particularly brings out the floral notes of juniper, gin's primary flavoring ingredient. The dilution of the cocktail also brightens the flavors, opens the nose, and allows more delicate notes to blossom on the palate. Unfortunately, many bartenders now store their gin and mixing glass in a freezer, which results in a blunter, more one-dimensional drink with an oily, soft texture. As far as frozen implements go, it is acceptable to cocktail purists[who?]to pour a martini into a frozen cocktail glass, as, by this point in the drink-making process, the dilution has already taken place.

The classic martini was stirred, "so as not to bruise the gin." W. Somerset Maugham declared that "martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other," James Bond from the Albert R. Broccoli films ordered his "shaken, not stirred", a departure from the default and properly called a Bradford.(Embury 1948, p. 101) The concept of "bruising the gin" as a result of shaking a martini is an oft-debated topic. The term comes from an older argument over whether or not to bruise the mint in preparing a mint julep, and with gin refers to a certain bitterness developed by shaking. A shaken martini is different from stirred for a few reasons. The shaking action breaks up the ice and adds more water, slightly weakening the drink but also altering the taste. Some would say the shaken martini has a "more rounded" taste.[citation needed] Others, usually citing obscure scientific studies, say that shaking causes more of a certain class of molecules (aldehydes) to bond with oxygen, resulting in a "sharper" taste.[citation needed] Shaking also adds tiny air bubbles and ice particles, which can lead to a cloudy drink instead of a clear one. If the drink is used as an aperitif, to cleanse the mouth before eating, the tiny air bubbles restrict the gin (or vodka) from reaching all tastebuds.[citation needed] This is why purists would claim that a martini should always be stirred. Some martini devotees believe the vermouth is more evenly distributed by shaking, which can alter the flavor and texture of the beverage as well. Recent medical research has shown that shaken martinis have a slightly higher antioxidant level than those stirred, though the exact mechanism for this was not derived.[citation needed] In some places, a shaken martini is referred to as a "martini James Bond" or a "007"[citation needed]—Fleming actually named Bond's drink the "Vesper", after the heroine of the first novel Casino Royale, though it is a specific recipe using gin, vodka, and Lillet.

Shaken and stirred Martinis were taste-tested side-by-side on a 2008 episode of Mythbusters. All of the testers noticed a difference in taste between the two methods. Although they were not blindfolded, the drinks were allowed to sit so that there would be no visual difference between them.

Some references (Mr. Boston Official Bartenders Guide - p. 25) also cite a classic difference in the fundamental recipe of the drink. While the modern martini uses very little Vermouth in relation to Gin or Vodka - it is documented that pre-prohibition martinis were equal parts Gin and Vermouth. The abundance of "dry" Vermouth, and not the absence of vermouth, is said to be the origin of the drinks name.

[edit] Martini variations

Flavored vodka martinis are rapidly becoming a trend among new drinkers. Unlike gin, vodka has a neutral flavor which allows it to easily mix with other flavors to make a wide variety of flavored martinis.

Instead of the typical cocktail olive, cocktail onion, or lemon twist, unique garnishes are being used in these new flavored martinis. These garnishes include marinated capers, fresh herbs, or olives stuffed with blue cheese, anchovies, or sun-dried tomatoes.

[edit] The Martinez (the original)

The Martinez is considered by many to be "the great grandfather of the Martini cocktail"[5]

Dash of bitters; 2 dashes maraschino liqueur; 1 pony Old Tom gin; 1 wine glass vermouth; 1/4 slice lemon;

Mix all ingredients, except lemon, in a shaker with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Note: Original recipe advised adding two dashes of "gum (sugar) syrup, if the guest prefers it very sweet."

[edit] Gibson

IBA Official Cocktail
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served stirred
Standard garnish silverskin onion peel
Standard drinkware
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients
Preparation *Stir well in a shaker with ice, then strain into glass. Garnish and serve
Gibson recipe at International Bartenders Association

Although Charles Dana Gibson is most likely responsible for the creation of the Gibson martini (where a pickled onion serves as the garnish), the details are debated and several alternate stories exist. In one story, Gibson challenged Charley Connolly, the bartender of the Players Club in New York City, to improve upon the martini's recipe, so Connolly simply substituted an onion for the olive and named the drink after the patron. Other stories involve different Gibsons, such as an apocryphal American diplomat who served in Europe during Prohibition. Although he was a teetotaller, he often had to attend receptions where cocktails were served. To avoid an awkward situation, Gibson would ask the staff to fill his martini glass with cold water and garnish it with a small onion so that he could pick it out among the gin drinks. A similar story postulates a savvy investment banker named Gibson, who would take his clients out for the proverbial three-martini business lunches. He purportedly had the bartender serve him cold water, permitting him to remain sober while his clients became intoxicated; the cocktail onion garnish served to distinguish his beverage from those of his clients.

Another version of the origin story, included in The Good Man's Weakness by Charles McCabe, states that the drink was created in San Francisco by Walter D. K. Gibson (1864-1938)[6] at the Bohemian Club around 1898[7] or 1900.

A third origin story was that it was invented at Gibsons Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois.

[edit] Dirty martini

A version of the martini is the "dirty" martini in which olive brine is used in place of, or alongside, vermouth. It is also generally garnished with an olive. Additionally, the term "dusty" martini is a dirty martini that has only a fraction of the usual olive brine.

[edit] Smoky martini

Gin with a splash of Scotch whisky, stirred and garnished with lemon peel. This is also referred to as a Silverbullet Martini.

[edit] Dirty Pickle

Increasing in popularity is the substitution of olive brine in a dirty martini with pickle juice, often garnished with a mini gherkin or dill spear. This is generally called a "Dirty Pickle," "Pickletini" or "Dirty Pickle Martini".

[edit] Jalapiñi

A favorite among Chileheads is the Jalapiñi. This spicy cocktail is a variation of the Dirty Martini but substitutes olive juice with jalapeño juice and is garnished with a pickled jalapeño.[citation needed]

[edit] In popular culture

The martini tends to be subtly used in books and movies in Anglo-American culture. The best-known fictional martini drinker is Ian Fleming's James Bond, who is famous for his preferred drink, a vodka martini (a gin/vodka martini he called a "Vesper" in the original books), very dry, "shaken, not stirred" (see above). Next best-known fictional martini consumers are Captains Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John McIntyre, and BJ Hunnicutt characters from the film and TV series M*A*S*H who have their own still in their tent, "The Swamp", to meet their martini needs. The character Brian of Family Guy is also known to have a fondness for martinis. The super-sleuth Nick Charles (played by William Powell) in The Thin Man (1934) famously instructed a bartender: “You see, the important thing is the rhythm. You always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to a foxtrot. A Bronx to a two-step time. A dry Martini you always shake to waltz time." It is also a drink often drunk by Lorelai Gilmore, in the hit TV show Gilmore Girls. A dirty martini is the cocktail of choice for Phoebe Halliwell, in the hit TV show Charmed.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Edmunds, Lowell (1981). Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5971-9. 
  2. ^ Conrad, Barnaby, III (1995). The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic. Chronicle Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-8118-0717-7. 
  3. ^ History of Fitness-for-Duty Program, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, URL last accessed October 30, 2006.
  4. ^ Hess, Robert (2001-08-05). "The Perfect Martini". 
  5. ^ "How to Make a Martinez Cocktail - the Grandfather of the Martini" - Retrieved on 3/12/09
  6. ^ Case:245 F.2d 524, Wells Fargo Bank & Union Trust Co., Executor of the Will of Walter D. K. Gibson, Deceased, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee., No. 15046. United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, May 6, 1957, Rehearing Denied June 4, 1957
  7. ^ Classic Cocktails], New York Times

The Martini Story, [2]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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