Read an Excerpt
The Rise and Refinement
of the Classic Martini
The Top Ten Alleged Martini Inventors
1.J.P.A. Martini, Paris, France, 1763
2.Parker's Saloon, Boston, MA, 1850
3.Professor Jerry Thomas, Martinez, CA, 1852 (or San Francisco, CA, 1860)
4.Harry Johnson, New York, NY, 1860
5.Heublein Company, Hartford, CT, 1894
6.Martini & Rossi, Turin, Italy, 1890
7.The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London, UK, 1910
8.Signor Martinez, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, NY, 1910
9.Martini di Taggia, Knickerbocker Hotel, New York, NY, 1910
10.Harry, Harry's New York Bar, Paris, France, 1911
More intellectual duels have been waged over the Martini's origins than for any other cocktail (and just as many feuds over its preparation have parted close allies). However, there is a detente. All factions mutually agree, Martinis must be made and presented with style. Traditions die hard, and we're grateful that this singular golden rule is the point of difference between the drink known as the "elixir of quietude" and other alcoholic beverages, like shooters, coolers, umbrella drinks, and Jell-O(R) shots.
As in any rite of passage, neophytes must prepare for the initiation that takes them from the adolescent world of keg parties to the refinement of the Martini. Elders of this growing sect are well versed in the enigmatic questions of mixology; they faithfully practice the prescribed rituals both in public and private. They revere the drink's champions. They tell tales that have been passed down from generation to generation about the Martini's origins and its rise to elegance. They share the names andlocations of sophisticated Martini shrines they've discovered along the way.
The Art of Fine Mixology
See, in mixing, the important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan, you shake to fox trot time; a Bronx
to two-step time. But a Martini, you always shake to waltz time.
The Thin Man
How many drinks have you had?
This will make six Martinis.
[to the waiter] All right. Will you bring me five more Martinis, Leo? Line them right up here.
-The Thin Man
The last time someone proffered a spirit in a plastic bottle near me,
I waited until it was empty, brandished it
in front of the cretin - who'd completely forgotten by this time that it wasn't a genuine glass bottle - and discreetly whacked him over the head with it. After he realized he wasn't dead, he spent the rest of the evening over-using the same gag on anyone who'd stand still long enough.
The one who drives
When he's been drinking
Depends on you
To do his thinking.
-Burma Shave roadside sign from the 1930s.
Key to Icons
Stir. Fill the shaker halfway with ice. Add ingredients, and stir contents for at least 15 seconds. Strain and pour.
Shake. Fill the shaker halfway with ice. Add ingredients, affix lid, and shake for at least 8 seconds or until it's too cold to hold. Strain and pour.
Let stand (aka: an in/out). Fill the shaker halfway with ice. Add ingredients, affix lid, and let mixture stand for at least 15 seconds and up to 3 minutes. Strain and pour.
Special tips or mixing hints.
So you already know how to make a darn good Martini. Frankly, that's not good enough. You want to make the best Martini that ever graced the inner curve of a thoroughly chilled long-stemmed cocktail glass. You don't just want a Perfect Martini (see page 52); you want Martini perfection! No? It's your first time, and you just want your date-who's arriving for cocktails in ten minutes-to believe that you've made a Martini before? Either way, read on!
The first thing to realize is that there are very few components to a Martini. There are the ingredients: gin (or vodka), vermouth (or its replacement), garnish, and ice. Then there's the equipment: a cocktail shaker or mixing glass and stirring spoon, long-stemmed glasses, and swizzle sticks or toothpicks. That's it. So it's through the proper manipulation and balance of these few items that you're going to produce liquid satin instead of a drink that'll leave you licking stamps just to get the taste out of your mouth. This, young Grasshopper, is Martini Zen.
Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini. Copyright © by Anistatia R. Miller. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.