Sexy, sophisticated, smart, boozy. These are my favorite adjectives to describe the Martini. It’s a cocktail with finesse and strength. I’m not talking about frou frou cocktails with flavored vodkas and schnapps. Oh no, I’m talking about THE one and only Martini. But first, let’s take a step back.
In Harry Johnsons’s 1888 Bartenders’ Manual, this cocktail was simply a wine glass, filled with half gin, half vermouth. While the origin of the martini is unclear, this was the first recorded recipe for anything like a martini. It’s possible that in 1863, a vermouth producer “Martini” gave the name. An even more plausible story is that the Martini actually came from the Martinez, a drink consisting of gin, sweet vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, and bitters, created at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, near the town of Martinez. Or maybe it came from the Marguerite cocktail, with 2:1 proportions of Plymouth gin and vermouth, with a dash of orange bitters. It’s something that we’ll never truly know, and cocktail historians will continue to differ in their opinions on this until the end of time.
The Martini was extremely popular in the mid 19th century due to the availability of bootleg gin, but it’s popularity faded in the 1970’s-80’s. It didn’t stay that way for long though. With more and more flavored vodkas, rums, and liqueurs, the “Martini” came back in a big way. In the 90s and early 2000s, martini bars were all the rage. They were considered the next big thing in the world of cocktails. But these bars weren’t selling Martinis. They were making some sweet, sugary, and I’ll even admit, tasty drinks. The only thing the drinks had in common with the Martini came down to a single piece of glassware. I could ramble about this forever, but the fact of the matter is, a Martini is simply gin and vermouth, garnished with a lemon twist and an olive. Nothing more, nothing less. Variations do exist, and that’s important for cocktails to evolve. I often get the argument of, “well what about vodka Martinis?” Yes, you can make a variation of a Martini by substituting vodka for gin, but it becomes a Vodka Martini. Dirty Martinis? Well, I guess if you’re into that, I’ll throw you a tiny bit of olive juice into your cocktail, but seriously, if you want a super dirty, filthy martini, I will gladly pour your gin into a rocks glass and top in with ice and olive juice. I know it sounds a bit pretentious, and I’m honestly not knocking the variations of the cocktail, but it’s hard to see people annihilate an awesome, classic, older than your grandparents drink.
So if you’re in the mood for something sexy, sophisticated, smart, and boozy, you should really give this namesake version a try.
2 oz. Magellan Iris Flavored Gin
1 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 Dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stir in a mixing or pint glass until chilled, strain into a coupe or martini glass
Garnish with a lemon twist and a Swedish fish
*Note: Martinis should ALWAYS be stirred. If you shake your martini, you will end up with an extremely watered down cocktail.
The Tabootini is a play on the traditional Martini with lots of floral and herbal notes. Magellan is a floral gin distilled with botanicals such a cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, and of course, juniper berries, but in the infusion process of the iris root and flower, it is given a natural blue color, making this gin stand out both on the taste buds as well as the bar shelf. The Dolin Blanc gives this martini a nice herbal component from the 54 botanicals used to create this vermouth. While the list of botanicals is definitely kept quiet, you can definitely taste the light flavors of wormwood, rose petals, camomile and honey. The Tabootini looks sexy, tastes sexy, and will make you feel sexy.