I’m a martini fanatic!! My friends will tell you that when they think of Chudda, they think martini. I’m a martini purist and proud of it! My house is filled with photos, pictures, lamps, cocktail napkins, pitchers, music….anything martini and I want it!!!.
Some prints we have around the house!
For my birthday last year Ludmilla threw me a martini-themed party complete with martini lights, martini invitations, giant martini cardboard cutouts, our own martini cocktail menu and dozens of different styles of glasses to serve them in…it was amazing!!! So this is a subject near and dear to my heart lol!Martini.
Never has one word conjured up so many different interpretations to so many. American writer H.L. Mencken said, “Martinis are the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet.”. This classic cocktail’s history is still evolving more than a century after its inception. It has a murky past, enjoyed fabulous success then took a downfall and hit the skids before making a name for itself once again…a true American success story!!
There are many theories as to how the martini was invented and by whom. The first record of anything similar to a martini was in the late 19th C.. A bartending guide from the day describes mixing equal parts Old Tom Gin and vermouth in a wine glass. The most common stories of where it was invented include its inception at The Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, by a bartender in the town of Martinez near San Francisco and by a bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. In these “inventions” there were usually additions of sweet vermouth, maraschino cherry liquid, bitters…a totally different drink than what we would think of as a martini today.
Regardless of its origins, the martini really gained its fame through prohibition. The rise of “bathtub gin” production during this era made its availability and consumption skyrocket and thus began the classic cocktail’s popularity with the elite, famous and infamous including W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, Ernest Hemingway, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and of course.. Bond, James Bond.
The unique shape of the martini glass has its own theories. A few included: you could hold onto the stem and drink the martini without warming the drink with your hands, the wide mouth brings out the gin’s bouquet and was easy to show off “extras” like olive or onions. The one I like the best is that during Prohibition, it was easier to dump the drink out when the police showed up!
The classic martini evolved using gin and dry vermouth only. The recipe most purists (myself included) used was a ration of 5 parts gin to 1 part dry vermouth. These days this is rarely the case and it is common to not use any vermouth at all. There was a shift during the 1980s when vodka became the spirit of choice to make a martini with, but luckily and rightfully so, gin has been making a comeback!
Gin is distilled from juniper berries with the addition of up to a dozen or more different aromatic herbs, spices and other flavors. The classic British gin is divided into London Dry Gin (good for mixing), Plymouth Gin (full bodied, fruity and aromatic) and Old Tom Gin (the lightly sweetened gins of the 18th C.) . Recently there has been a trend toward more botanical gins. There are gins infused with rose petal, cucumber, cassia, cardamom, cloves…the list is amazingly endless and delicious! As a result gin becomes a more flavorful and complex spirit than any vodka could ever be (in my humble opinion). I enjoy both styles of gin, but my heart will always sway toward the classic English style of gin. There are so many ways of the martini…dry martinis, dirty martinis, with olives, onions, citrus…now I’m getting thirsty!
So, as Robert Benchley, the American humorist once said, “why don’t you step out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?!”
Cheers (Saúde) to the classic martini!!!!
Beijos e Tchau!!!