Now, the Martini’s history is oddly murky. What we know for sure is that its origins can be traced to the late 19th century when drinks combining gin and dry vermouth started appearing in bartending books. The drink’s name is probably a spin on an older drink called the Martinez, which shares some ingredients and preparation style. It’s said that the Martinez was popular at San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel in the 1860s, and was named for the nearby town of Martinez, California. However, the old Knickerbocker Hotel in New York also made a claim to creating the Martini. It’s also said that it’s name comes from the Italian vermouth company Martini.
No matter where it was born, we do know that the rise of illegal gin during Prohibition made the Martini quite popular in America, to the point that now lots of less classy bars will call any drink served in a cocktail glass a Martini, which is just wrong. In fact, the popular “vodka Martini” is in fact an old drink called a Kangaroo.
Anyhow, a normal Martini is 2 ounces of gin with a half ounce of dry vermouth, stirred on ice and poured in to a cocktail glass with an olive garnish. However, I want to introduce you to the special recipe of one of history’s great Martini lovers: President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR was well known for his Martinis, and in fact waited patiently until Midnight of December 5th, 1933 so he could make a Martini to celebrate the end of Prohibition. FDR’s recipe is a variation on the Dirty Martini with a bit of olive brine, and just like James Bond, Roosevelt enjoyed his Martinis shaken, not stirred.
- 2 ounces Gin
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- 1 teaspoon olive brine
Rub a lemon peel around the rim of a chilled cocktail glass. Shake the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with crushed ice, strain in to the glass, garnish with an olive.
Tomorrow: An orange drink to celebrate a blues movie.