The Martini

The Martini is a simple, two part cocktail known the world over. One whose simplicity and synonymity with class has carried it through history. The basic martini is probably the most modified cocktail in the world. Each drinker knows exactly how they like it; and they’re perfect iteration of the martini is often different from the last! Where did it come from? What are these iterations I speak of and how many hats can the basic martini wear?


It is general accepted that, wherever the martini came from, original versions and recipes of this drink were much more complicated than the cocktail we call the martini. The martini we know today arose from a cocktail called the Martinez.

We should note that there are many recipes, from many different cocktail books, from the mid to late 19th century that could have morphed and evolved into the martini as we know it today. Gin was used to produce the first martini. However, the rise of popularity of vodka in the 90’s saw the the vodka martini overtake the gin martini.

There is nothing dramatic in the creation of the martini. It has sustained an unwavering popularity and has global recognition. A drink where complexity meets perfection and simplicity. One American writer in the early 20th century, the period where the martini really hit its stride, called it “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.

Standard Recipe

The IBA official recipe for the martini is as follows:

  • 6 Parts Gin
  • 1 Part Dry Vermouth

Stirred and served straight up in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or an olive. This may now be the recipe but some original recipes of the martini detail a cocktail served with equal parts sweet vermouth (not dry!) and gin.

This is the recipe for the standard martini, however there are many different versions of the martini out there. The 6:1 ratio mentioned above is not everyone’s standard, some use 5:1, some 7:1. Sometimes people go to extremes asking for a 3:1 or even a 20:1 cocktail. It all depends on what the proprietor of the restaurant deems to be the best balance.

After this a person can edit their martini in a myriad of ways. They can ask for it dry, extra dry, bone dry, wet, dirty, extra dirty, filthy, sweet, perfect, or as a Gibson martini. You can order it shaken, stirred, straight up, on the rocks, or served with an olive or lemon twist. This drink is the most modifiable cocktail in the world. This leads people to be really particular with how they like their martinis made.

Variations of the Martini

The word martini has now become synonymous with many cocktails served in a martini glass. The name has been tagged onto many different drinks. Here are some of the variations of the martini that’ve become popular:

  • Espresso Martini
  • 50-50 Martini
  • French Martini
  • Breakfast Martini
  • Appletini

If you search for the martini online you will find countless cocktails with the word martini in their name, some of which bear little to no resemblance to the cocktail known simply as “the martini.” This goes to show the status that the word martini holds. It can mean multiple things; there’s a vermouth called martini, sometimes thought to be where the name of the drink originated.


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Benjamin Michael Beddow

Food and Beverage Professional

As a food and beverage professional for over ten years, Ben has spent most of his time behind the bar, giving him a broad and in-depth knowledge of all things drinkable and drink related. Now, as a traveling freelance writer exploring the gastronomy, drinks, and food service industry of the world, Ben has taken his knowledge and experiences to the world wide web to share with others. The love for the trade never dies and Ben can still be found running around restaurants and slinging drinks in ski resorts in the USA during the winter season.

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