The true history of one of the world's favorite drinks, Martini, is still draped in mystery. The origins of the Martini are not well documented, but there are a number of differing theories on who invented the drink and when. It has, however, been agreed by common consensus that the Martini was most likely invented in America and is one of the country's many invented cocktails.
There are a number of people who claim to be the inventors of this favored drink. But, none of their recipes match that of the Martini as we know it today. No doubt, the original recipe of the drink has evolved over the years, but there is no accurate lineage available of this drink which has further evolved in the last few generations.
There is record of a drink called the Martinez from all the way back in 1962. The recipe for this drink included 4 parts red, sweet Vermouth to 1 part Gin, and was garnished with a cherry. This likely to be the first version of Martini also included aromatic bitters and Old Tom Gin, which was very sweet and also incorporated a rather strong Juniper flavor. This is possibly the original drink that has given birth to the modern version of Martini.
There are, however, a number of legends attached to the birth of the Martini. Some of them include the following:
Amongst the number of people who claim inventing the Martini, there is also a place that claims to be the birthplace of this drink. There is in fact, a plaque on the north-east corner of the intersection of Alhambra Avenue and Masonic Street, in Martinez, California which commemorates the birth of the Martini. Legend has it that in Julio Richelieu's saloon in Martinez, California, around the year 1870, Julio was requested to make a cocktail for a visiting gold miner. Julio made a concoction and dropped an olive into the drink before serving it to the customer. When the drink was well received, he named in after his town.
A similar story is also attributed to Jerry Thomas who worked as a bartender in the Occidental Hotel in California. Apparently, the Occidental Hotel was a favored watering hole for visitors who took the ferry from Montgomery Street to Martinez. Supposedly, Thomas created this drink for a visitor and named it after his destination. The recipe can be found in The Bon Vivant's Companion: Or How to Mix Drinks (1887 edition) which was authored by Jerry Thomas himself. The recipe included one dash of Bitters, two dashes of Maraschino, one wine glass of Vermouth, two jigs of ice and a pony of Old Tom Gin, served with a slice of lemon.
In 1895, George J. Kappeler published 'Modern American Drinks.' The recipe for the Martini Cocktail was included in it. The recipe required half a mixing glass full fine ice, three dashes orange bitters, one-half jigger Tom gin, one-half jigger Italian vermouth, a piece lemon-peel. Mix, strain into cocktail-glass. Add a maraschino cherry if desired by customer.
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