The ingredients used to make the popular Martini cocktail are gin and vermouth, and it is usually served straight in a cocktail glass – or Martini glass as it is sometimes called thanks to the popularity of the drink –, garnished with olives or a slice of lemon. The cocktail as we know it today was invented in America, but its origins are much more controversial and unclear. Drinks similar to the Martini were made as early as the 19th century, and there are various sources that mention its presence in various cities in America like San Francisco, Martinez or New York.
What is certain is that it was, in fact, the Prohibition era that led to the popularization of the Martini cocktail and of other cocktails as well, because whiskey was scarce and people had to make do with the liqueurs that were available. Quality gin was one of the few alcoholic drinks that were easiest to smuggle into the United States, so people got used to it by mixing it with other drinks. The cocktail was very popular for a while, but during the 1970s-80s it lost followers.
The Martini cocktail re-emerged as a cosmopolitan drink during the 1990s, when it was reinvented and recreated in a variety of styles, many of which appealed especially to women. However, all they have in common with the original drink is the use of the name “martini” or the suffix “-tini”, but they generally use vodka. These drinks are the appletini, the peach martini, the espresso martini and the chocolate martini.
Generally, the Martini cocktail is made using 55 milliliters of gin and 15 milliliters of dry vermouth. The ingredients are put in a mixing glass, together with some ice cubes to get chilled. The result is poured into the cocktail glass, and some lemon peel oil can be squeezed over it for flavor. No Martini is complete without one or two green olives, which are usually kept together by a cocktail pick used to stir the drink. Just like any popular drink, the Martini can also be found in many variations, sometimes in combination with vodka, or having the vermouth replaced with Kina Lillet. The cocktail was also popularized by many books and movies, especially the James Bond series. Here, the British spy is seed ordering several variations of the Martini in certain books, so if you are interested in drinking like him you can find the recipes online.