Though the drink itself is the epitome of effortless cool, the Martini’s history is full of frenzy and dispute. Some say it’s a bastardized Martinez, a drink created at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco for a flush gold miner who demanded a drink be named in his honor. Others say it was immaculately conceived at New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel. Either way, by the 1920s, the Martini had a clear definition: two-to-one gin to vermouth, orange bitters, no garnish. In other words, it was nothing like the one we know today. By the 1990s, it became trendy to hate on vermouth. Hedge fund managers began proudly ordering “bone dry” Martinis, where the bartender simply rolls his eyes at the vermouth before putting gin and ice in his tin. The recipe below lies between these margins. After all, a Martini is gin and vermouth, not just chilled gin. If you have access to a good, fresh dry vermouth, we recommend trying the original ratios. (But remember that dry vermouth goes bad almost as fast as wine. Buy small bottles, refrigerate after opening and replace every four weeks.)
A quick note on the glass: While a Martini glass (aka a cocktail glass) is traditional, we find that it can be unwieldy. If you would prefer to keep your cocktail in your glass rather than have it wind up in your lap, opt instead for a coupe glass, which is much easier to maneuver.