Whether you enjoy your Martini shaken, not stirred, like James Bond, with an olive or as part of a more extravagant cocktail, Martini Day is a great excuse to celebrate with a glass. Strictly for adults, this special day celebrates all things Martini, and is an ideal opportunity to research and try out different cocktail recipes you might not have sampled before.
Martini has been enjoyed as an alcoholic gin and vermouth cocktail for many decades and is now one of the most famous cocktails in the world. It can be served in a variety of ways, such as with ice (on the rocks), garnished with an olive, or with a twist of lemon. Martini is served in bars around the world and is easy to make and enjoy at home. A great idea for celebrating Martini Day is to have a group of friends round to enjoy the drink.
What do we know about Martini?
The first known recipe in print for a cocktail called the “Martinez” appeared in an 1887 bartending manual published in San Francisco. Historians, however, can’t seem to agree on whether the drink actually originally originated on the West Coast or whether they just jumped on it. In 1911, a bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia from New York City started serving a rather fancy cocktail made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters and a garnish of olives, heralding the birth of the infamous Martini as we know of it. Since then, the socialites of Manhatten have become synonymous with the boozy beverage.
The Martini has always been served in a unique glass – the Martini glass (original, huh?). It is one of the most iconic glasses on the planet, conjuring up images of upper-class Manhatten ladies in dark, smoky bars, seductively sipping from a glass with a long, thin stem and a conical top. The glass wasn’t unique – its lookalike sister is the cocktail glass, and they are often confused for one another. It is not hard to see why – the cocktail glass is a little smaller, a little more rounded, and has a slightly narrower rim. While they are both lush to look at, the reasons behind the design are more practical. The long stem and separated bowl mean that the cocktail is not warmed up too much by the hands of the drinker as there is no ice, meaning the drink stays chilled for longer. Let’s face it; no one likes a lukewarm martini!
Famous fans of Martini
The Martini has it’s fair share of famous fans, both fictional and real. These include:
- James Bond (shaken, not stirred!)
- John D. Rockefeller (apparently the first guy to drink one, although as a supposed teetotaller, this one needs to be taken with a pinch of salt)
- Humprey Bogart (his last words were reported to be “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis”)
- Ernest Hemingway
- Clark Gable
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
How do you make the perfect Martini?
- Mix the spirits
Pour 55 ml of gin and 15 ml of dry vermouth into a mixing glass with some ice cubes.
- Stir well
- Strain into a chilled Martini cocktail glass
Squeeze the oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with an olive or two.
If you want to serve it ‘on the rocks’, mix the ingredients as above and pour over ice cubes in a standard glass tumbler and garnish as above.
If you have a taste for the exotic or want to be a bit different, there are various other takes on the classic recipe, including:
A Dirty Martini: has a splash of olive juice or olive brine and is typically garnished with an olive. Perfect if you like olives, terrible if you don’t.
A Perfect Martini: uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.
Don’t be fooled by peach martinis, espresso martinis, and the like – the only thing they have in common with the real thing is that they are served in the same glass.
How to celebrate Martini Day
Have a go at making the perfect Martini
Make a martini as part of an at-home cocktail party and ask everyone to bring the ingredients to make their favorite cocktail. Even if it tastes dreadful, you will all have fun playing at being Tom Cruise in Cocktail, shaking your shakers, and getting drunk at the same time!
If you are an expert at making the classic one, why not experiment to create a new take on it?
Go out for a Martini or three
Call your best friend, get dressed up in your glad rags, and hit the bars. Visit a few and order a Martini each one. Which one makes the best? Rate them out of ten and let them know your thoughts! Bonus points to any bar with a piano and a lounge singer to add to the atmosphere.
Why do we love Martini so much?
Have you ever tasted one? That should answer your question! However, if you are scratching your head at why such a simple drink has a day dedicated to it every single year, the following should help:
It’s simple to make
Cocktails can be complicated. A dash of this; a shot of that; a sprig of this; a squirt of that. Then there is the shaking it around and the pouring it out and the garnishing. They can be exhausting to think about! However, the Martini is about as simple as it gets. Two ingredients, a simple garnish. Drink. It is why it is the ultimate in class and sophistication. It sings for itself without fancy gimmicks.
It enhances and highlights the flavors in gin
Gin is rapidly becoming one of the most popular alcoholic drinks. While many people enjoy it paired with a decent tonic, one of the best ways of bringing out the flavor of the juniper berries is by adding it to a shot of crips, cold vermouth. Of course, you can substitute the gin for vodka if you really don’t like gin.
James Bond drinks it
Let’s face it, James Bond is probably one of the coolest men to have ever walked the planet, so if a Martini (shake, not stirred, of course!) is good enough for him, it is good enough for us!
It is hard to have a bad one
With its simple two-ingredient recipe, you would be incredibly lucky to be landed with a lousy Martini. We would go as far as to say that anyone who makes a bad Martini probably could not be trusted to pour a glass of water – it really is that easy to make.
They are available almost everywhere
Unlike fancy modern cocktails dreamt up by individual bars, the Martini is a worldwide classic, so almost anywhere you can go, you should be able to get hold of one.