"Martinis - History, Preparation, Recipes, Lore." Personal Page by nicolaitan
Distilled spirits from fermented grain (rye, wheat, and potatoes) are first recorded in ancient Persia and Greece. There is even a mention by Aristotle. The modern history begins with a primitive brew in Poland in the 8th Century and Russia in the 9th Century. These two countries with Sweden have played the largest role in its development. For several hundred years it was predominantly used for medicinal purposes. The first known distillery was Russian, documented in 1174. Production in both Poland and Russia, as well as consumption, was limited to the nobility. The first use of the word vodka as an alcoholic beverage in Russia was by Empress Catherine I of Russia in 1751 in laws governing its manufacture. In Poland, similar laws were decreed some 200 years earlier by King Jan Obracht. Sweden played a lesser role because of a relatively strong temperance movement.
Traditional vodka is 80 proof, based on standards introduced in the late 19th Century following the introduction of charcoal filtering which allowed for increased mass production. The percentage was based on taxation rates for alcoholic beverages. This percentage is the best compromise between watery and burning. Largely consumed straight in Eastern Europe, the growth of popularity particularly in the Unites States is based on its miscibility with so many other products as well as its lack of taste - no liquor smell detectable on the breath.
After the Russian Revolution, the royalty and landed gentry fled Russia. This, of course, included all the vodka makers. One landed in Paris in the early 1930's and then emigrated to the United States, taking the French version of his name - Smirnoff. He set up a distillery in the United States, hired a sales force, and began his new business. He sold out to Heublin, Inc, an East Coast spirit and food distributor.
I am privileged to know one of the original sales team for vodka in the US. It was a difficult sell - tasteless, colorless, odorless. To increase sales, the first vodka mixed drink was created - the Moscow Mule. The idea came from John Martin of Heublin and Jack Martin, a Los Angeles bar owner. They mixed vodka with ginger beer and served it in a unique copper mug. This drink began the vodka craze of the mid - 1950's.
The screwdriver and the bloody mary followed soon thereafter. As above, I have a personal account of the excitement when a local bartender poured orange juice into vodka for the first time. Vodka needed a celebrity sponsor and a marketing genius at Heublin found the key in the James Bond character. Between the first and second Bond movies, Heublin bought for a considerable sum the product placement rights for its brand of vodka and the suave and urbane James Bond, with his martinis "stirred not shaken" catapulted vodka sales. The martini replaced the Vesper, a delightful blend of 6 parts gin, 3 parts vodka, and one part blonde Lillet.
The martini is believed descended from a 19th Century drink called the Martinez, a concoction of predominantly vermouth with some sweetened gin, bitters and maraschino cherries. While the exact creator is uncertain, all references agree this drink began in California in the 1850's. Over the years, martinis - in those days made with gin - became dryer and dryer, that is the proportion of vermouth steadily decreased. By the beginning of the 20th Century, originating by legend at the Knickerbocker Hotel bar in New York City, dry was the new martini of choice. Vodka has gradually supplanted gin as the primary alcohol, beginning with the influence of James Bond who switched to vodka in the second novel, Live and Let Die, filmed in 1962.
The next great advance in martini preparation began, as so many advances do, in the alternative lifestyle community. Vodka was mixed with various other liquors and juices to create a sweeter more user-friendly drink. Women in particular flocked to these martinis. The most famous variant is the Cosmopolitan. Not to be outdone, the vodka distillers have decided to put the flavors in themselves, harking back to the Russian flavored vodkas of centuries earlier, rather than leave it to the bartenders, with all sorts of flavors introduced during the distilling process. Vanilla, peach, pepper, raspberry, chocolate, the list goes on and on. Sales have increased proportionally and today in the United States, vodka-based martinis far outsell the gin variants.
What You Need -
1-classic triangular shaped glass martini glasses (or crystal)
2-stainless steel cocktail shaker with a strainer.
3-vodka, stored in the freezer
5-lots of ice cubes
6-garnishes - olives, cocktail onion
7-other - flavored vodkas, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for exotic martinis.
What you should do - creating a martini can be a fetish, but need not be. Chill the glasses. Into the shaker filled with ice cubes pour the ingredients, shake, and strain into the glass.
We don't have a mister or medicine dropper for the vermouth, don't use fancy toothpicks for the olives, and don't make a big deal out of martini-creation. Just do it.
A good martini should be very strong. European martinis may be 25-50% vermouth, and even recipes for American drinks put in no more than 75% vodka. A classic martini should be 95% or more vodka with just the slightest touch of vermouth. For exotics, the vodka should be a minimum of 80% by volume and, if non-alcoholic fluids are being added, 90%.
Flavored martinis created by the distiller - I don't much like them. Some are tolerable like Absolute raspberry and Stolichnaya Vanilla. Others are just plain awful - Van Gogh chocolate and the medicinal Absoult Apeach. We prefer to use good vodka and add any flavors we wish to in the amount we favor (light).
1 - *** - The Classic - 95%+ vodka, a touch of vermouth (as little as 3-5 drops from a medicine dropper). Shake, strain into glass, drink. Olive or lemon twist to taste. With no garnish, called a Dickens - my favorite.
2 - American - 4 parts vodka, 1 part vermouth. Also known as a vodkatini and a Kangaroo (latter courtesy Wikipedia). Subsituting for the traditional green olives, can use a pickled cocktail onion (Gibson) or black olive (Buckeye).
3 - *** - Apple martini (Appletini) - vodka, apple schnapps, garnish with apple slice. We use Apple Pucker by de Kuyper. A variant includes a touch of curacao or triple sec.
4 - *** - Lichee martini, variant one - vodka, a single tinned lichee with minimal juice. A lichee-based liqueur is apparently available, Lichido, but we have never seen any.
5 - Lichee martini, variant two - vodka, pureed lichees fresh or tinned, touch of Absolut Vanilla vodka.
6 - dirty martini - vodka, one teaspoon brine from the olive jar - Favored by Franklin D. Roosevelt among others.
7 - ** - Peach martini - vodka, peach schnapps (also made by DeKuyper among others). This is one martini we favor with a puree of the fruit and a slice of peach as a garnish, especially when we can get white peaches. I don't much like the peach flavored vodkas like Absolut Apeach - tastes medicinal.
8 - * - Cosmopolitan - this incredibly popular martini has dozens of variants with very subtle alterations. The simplest effective combination is vodka either unflavored or citrus-flavored, triple sec or Cointreau, and cranberry juice with touch of lime juice.
9 - Starbucks - vodka and coffee liquor - obviously Starbucks has one branded example. With or without coffee beans as a garnish.
10 - Honeydew Martini - 6 parts vodka, 1 part Midori, 1 part triple sec - this can be deceptively mind-numbing.
11 - Crantini - 70-80%vodka, mix chocolate liqueur and cranberry juice to taste. Garnish with what else - a cranberry.
12 - Expresso martini - there are multiple variants for these martinis. All require the expresso to be cooled to room temperature before adding to the martini shaker.
a - 3 parts vanilla vodka, 2 parts expresso, 1 part Kahlua. Rim the
glass with cinnamon and cocoa powder.
b - as above, add just a touch of Grand Marnier for a Grand Expresso
c - as above, plus 1 part Bailey's,
13 - South Beach martini - vanilla vodka, Malibu rum, and pineapple juice.
14 - Pink Lemonade martini - vodka, triple sec, and a touch of sour mix, cranberry juice, and lemon juice.
15 - St. Tropez - vodka, red grapefruit juice.
16 - Riviera - Citrus vodka ( any flavor ), iced tea.
17 - Kamikaze - vodka, triple sec, lime juice.
Just a listing of strange quotes, habits, and other vodka trivia - updated whenever I come across a new one.
1 - Winston Churchill's idea of adding vermouth has variously been stated to be bowing in the general direction of the continent in the presence of a unopened bottle or simply gazing at it for a few seconds. Another source says he waved the bottle over the glass unopened.
2 - General Patton pointed the gin bottle toward Italy, unopened, as his method for adding vermouth.
3 - James Bond had his martinis stirred not shaken in the movies, but in the novels from which they came had no problem with shaking.
4 - The sex appeal of martinis has been attributed to the V-shaped glass symbolising the chalice - drinking from a woman. Some people get a little carried away with this stuff.
5 - Nikita Kruschev called the martini "America's secret weapon".
6- Dorothy Parker -
I like to have a martini
Two at the very most - After
Three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under the host.
Traditionally martini glasses are held by the stem, so the heat of the hand does not impair the icy coldness of the martini.
Traditionally olives (or onions) are added in odd numbers, often three for the Holy Trinity. No even numbers.
Mae West in Everyday's a Holiday - Let's get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini.
James Thurber - One martini is alright, two is too many, three is not enough.
Steve Allen - Do not allow children to mix drinks. It is unseemly, and they use too much vermouth.
Anonymous - one martini, two martini, three martini, FLOOR!
Gerald Ford - The three martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency.
Humphrey Bogart (on his deathbed) - I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
Jackie Gleason - A man must defend his home, his wife, his children, and his martini.
Bernard DeVoto (literary critic) - The martini is the supreme American gift to world culture.
George Burns - I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini.
Abraham Lincoln - If people are injured from the use of liquor, the injury arises not from the use of a bad thing but from the abuse of a very good thing.
Top Travel Pages
Explore the World
Share your travels with the world!Join Now!
Badges & Stats
- 999 Reviews
- 3,865 Photos
- 15 Countries
- 56 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (45)
- Posted in Travel New York City Forum "Re: packing ?"
- Commented on maureena's profile page
updated their Profile Page "better to burn out than it is to rust"
- Wrote a Review Mint Tower in Amsterdam Things to Do
- Uploaded a Photo to "Mint Tower"
- updated a Amsterdam Travel Page "Three Days Is Not Enough"
- nicolaitan and kiwi are now friends.
Top 10 Pages
- Istanbul Intro, 55 reviews, 283 photos, 6 travelogues
- Amsterdam Intro, 53 reviews, 206 photos
- Vienna Intro, 48 reviews, 197 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Long Island Intro, 59 reviews, 175 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Nevsehir Ili Intro, 38 reviews, 185 photos, 3 travelogues
- Prague Intro, 45 reviews, 173 photos, 3 travelogues
- New York City Intro, 57 reviews, 160 photos, 2 travelogues
- Salzburg Intro, 40 reviews, 167 photos, 1 travelogue
- Berlin Intro, 42 reviews, 159 photos, 1 travelogue
- Budapest Intro, 42 reviews, 133 photos, 3 travelogues
- Paris Hotels
- 22172 Reviews - 53908 Photos
- Orlando Hotels
- 3079 Reviews - 5774 Photos
- New York City Hotels
- 15524 Reviews - 30894 Photos
- London Hotels
- 23065 Reviews - 47272 Photos
- Rome Hotels
- 11941 Reviews - 26475 Photos
- Cancún Hotels
- 1928 Reviews - 3713 Photos
- Myrtle Beach Hotels
- 319 Reviews - 425 Photos
- Las Vegas Hotels
- 8349 Reviews - 17018 Photos
- Manila Hotels
- 1909 Reviews - 4475 Photos
- Baguio Hotels
- 325 Reviews - 885 Photos
- Toronto Hotels
- 4278 Reviews - 8803 Photos
- Melbourne Hotels
- 3341 Reviews - 7500 Photos
- Goa Hotels
- 2036 Reviews - 3787 Photos
- Istanbul Hotels
- 7646 Reviews - 19527 Photos
- Panama City Beach Hotels
- 193 Reviews - 288 Photos