The History of the Martini

Like with most cocktails, the history of this classic drink and its origin is rather unclear. However, there are some very interesting theories on just how this drink was created. A lot of them stem from the mid-1800s Gold Rush, in a small town called Martinez, located in the American state of California. There are many different iterations of this story, some have it that the miner had just struck gold and wanted a glass of champagne to celebrate.

Only the bartender didn’t have any, so instead made a drink with what they had at hand: vermouth, bitters, maraschino liqueur, and a slice of lemon; this was then named “The Martinez Special”. The story goes on to say that this same miner tried to order the drink in San Francisco, however the bartender was unfamiliar with the drink, and requested to know how it was made.

This is apparently how the cocktail we now know as the Martini spread throughout America, and then the world.

However, there are some who dispute this story, instead claiming that an immigrant Italian bartender working at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York was the first to invent the Martini, or some who believe the cocktail came from branding as Martini & Rossi was an Italian sweet vermouth manufacturer. One thing is for certain, and that is that the true origin of the Martini is most likely lost to us, but whatever it’s origin is, there’s no disputing its worldwide popularity.

Martini glass

The Martini glass was created with every aspect of the cocktail in mind. It’s steep conical bowl was designed to ensure the olives would stand upright in the glass, rather than sit at the bottom. The long stem prevents warm hands from altering the temperature as they drink it. The vastness of the bowl was designed to expose more air to the gin, which helps open up the spirit and make it more aromatic.

There are many more modern takes on the classic martini that exist today, the most popular of which being the Pornstar Martini, comprised of Vodka, Passionfruit liqueur, vanilla sugar syrup, and served with a shot of prosecco. This cocktail has been the UK’s most popular cocktail since 2018, and it’s easy to see why, with how indulgently delicious and fresh it tastes. It was created in 2003 by Douglas Ankrah at The Townhouse in London, and ever since then has gained worldwide popularity.

Pornstar Martini Espresso Martini

Another modern classic take on the Martini comes with a kick of caffeine. The Espresso Martini was invented in 1983 by Dick Bradsell at the Soho Brasserie in London, and was originally dubbed the “Vodka Espresso”. This cocktail had a massive worldwide surge of popularity in the 1990s. Despite this, the craze for Espresso Martinis died down over the years, lately it appears to be having something of a resurgence, some speculating due to how perfectly alcohol and coffee pair together.

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