The origin of the martini drink is riddled with mystery. There are several arguments as to who first created it. Most of those who claim to have reported the first martini have various names and recipes and none exactly fit the martini recipe of today. The most detailed history begins with a cocktail called Martinez, created in 1862. This drink called for four parts sweet, red Vermouth to 1 part Gin garnished with cherry.

A small drink was mixed for a visiting miner in 1870 at Julio Richelieu’s saloon in Martinez, California where he placed an olive in the glass before giving it to the visiting miner and then named the drink after the town of Martinez. Martinez, California continues to hold claim as the birthplace of the martini drink. There is a also the story of the name of the drink coming from the Martini and Henry rifle which was used by the British Army in the year 1871. It was claimed that the drink and the rifle both shared a strong kick.

The year 1888 was the magical year when the world Martini first came. The name appeared in “New and Improved Illustrated Bartending Manual”. In 1911, the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York’s head bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia mixed half-and-half Noilly Prat Vermouth, London Gin and orange bitters. He chilled it on ice and strained into a well-chilled glass. The quest for the perfect martini drink will likely continue regardless of its true origin. Variations of the martini abound these days and the drink continues to hit the scene.

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