“Shaken, not stirred” – James Bond’s famous words were first spoken in Ian Fleming’s Book Dr. No, but became truly iconic when Sean Connery uttered them in the film Goldfinger. Face it; anyone who has ordered a martini since then has secretly aspired to embody the world’s most famous spy. The original martini is pure class. No bright colours, no added sweeteners. All you need is the simple mix of gin, dry vermouth in a chilled cocktail glass with a green olive or twist of lemon peel as a garnish. It is one of the most recognisable cocktails in the world. The secret origin of this drink is shrouded in mystery. Like most timeless cocktails there are many stories regarding the conception of the Martini. One of the best has to go to the story of the miner. The tale takes place in 1860, where a miner in Martinez, California walked into a bar and asked for a refreshing drink after a long day of grueling work. The bartender complied with his invention; a Martinez cocktail, which was concocted with a blend of Italian vermouth, Old Tom gin, bitters, sugar syrup and maraschino liqueur. After a few servings of the drink the miner in question was in such a state that he could no longer pronounce the letter “Z”. Hence the Martini, a drink so synonymous with sophistication, possibly born with the help of a slurring miner. Regardless of which origin story you believe, the Martini’s iconic place in cocktail history is undeniable.
In 1934 Harman Burke’s Cocktail & Drinking Recipes ranked the Martini first in “Most Famous Cocktails”. During the dry era of Prohibition in the United States the Martini rose in popularity due to the ease of illegal gin manufacturing and became the drink of choice for many. By the time prohibition on alcoholic drinks had been lifted the drink had become drier and had come to be viewed as an old fashioned drink by the 1970s and 1980s. The Martini made a comeback in the 1990s and its proud legacy has continued since then. The Martini has been treated to many reinventions over time, with different variations including the Dry Martini, 50-50, Perfect Martini, Vodka Martini, Dirty Martini, Gibson and James Bond’s personal invention, the Vesper. Many other drinks have borrowed the fame of the Martini such as the appletini or chocolate martini, but these are simply named for using the signature martini glass. For the true experience, nothing is better than the original Martini.
MAKES 1 DRINK
10ml Extra Dry Vermouth
METHOD: Stir ingredients with lots of ice until very chilled (approx. 18 – 20 times) and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass