Whether the Martini is ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ depends on the amount of vermouth used in its preparation. While initially a ‘wet’ ratio of at least 1:1 was preferred, the proportion of gin to vermouth rose gradually over the course of the twentieth century.
Today, it is common for the glass to receive no more than a splash of vermouth before the gin is poured. Whatever the drinker’s preference, the precision and subtlety required to avoid an overpowering flavour of either gin or vermouth means that the Gin Martini is considered by many barmen to be the ultimate test of their ability.
Like its recipe, the origins of the Gin Martini are hotly disputed. According to one famous story, the first Martini was served to a gold miner who, having struck it rich, entered a bar in the Californian outpost of Martinez in 1849 and demanded a unique drink. The concoction he was served contained a wine glass of vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and of course a healthy measure of gin. A more likely, if less interesting, story of the cocktail’s origin centres on the fact that one of the first vermouths to be exported, Martini and Rossi, was named after the classic Martini and Henry rifle which was used by the British Army in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Whatever its origin, the Gin Martini remains one of the most iconic cocktails of the twentieth century. Associated with luxury and elegance, but also with debauchery and recklessness, the Gin Martini holds a privileged position in the popular culture of the twentieth century. In this iconic scene from All About Eve (1950), Bette Davis clutches a Gibson, a variant of the Gin Martini garnished not with an olive or lemon peel but with a pearl onion.
To discover how to make a Brockmans Gin Dry Martini view our new video.