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Feb. 23, 2022
While there are a few stories that claim to be responsible for the birth of the martini cocktail, most agree it was originally a sweet gin cocktail called a martinez – a mix of gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. As with most classic cocktails, the origin of the martinez is disputed.
One story claims that Professor Jerry Thomas invented it in the 1860s. A gold miner reputedly stepped into Thomas’ San Francisco bar on his way to the town of Martinez, and asked Thomas to shake up something special. Thomas made him the first ever martinez.
Another story says that in the 1870s a gold miner stopped at Julio Richelieu’s saloon in Martinez, California. The miner put a small pouch of gold and an empty bottle on the bar to be filled with whiskey. But the traveler wasn’t satisfied with the trade, so Richelieu mixed up a small drink. To this date Martinez, California still claims to be the birthplace of the martini cocktail.
Despite the debate around who created the drink, we know that 1884 is the earliest known date for the martinez cocktail in a bar book: O H Byron’s Modern Bartender’s Guide. The recipe suggests making the drink like a perfect Manhattan (i.e. with both dry and sweet vermouth), but substituting whiskey with gin.
A martini cocktail is essentially the uniting of three elements — and good things always come in threes: Spirit + vermouth + garnish.
The deceptively basic formula for a martini cocktail has endless possibilities, and with respect to gin or vodka, the spirit one selects for the cocktail has a dramatic impact on the final result.
And martini cocktails aren’t the only drinks where you can use either vodka or gin. There are plenty of drinks where you can substitute other spirits for vodka.
The martini cocktail has a rich and storied history, but the one constant is that it’s a drink where you can define your own preferences. So feel free to customize the ratio of vodka to vermouth, the garnish, the addition of bitters and beyond. Now hopefully you have what you need to go out and find your own. GREY GOOSE® has many different types and flavours of martini cocktails to choose from. So go and experiment by making your own martini cocktails at home or ordering one at your local bar.