Some cocktail historians believe that the martini was invented at New York's Turf Club in the early 1880s, essentially as a variation on the Manhattan that used gin instead of whiskey.
The original recipe called for Italian vermouth, which probably would have been Martini brand (what Martini & Rossi vermouth was called in 19th-century America and still is today in Europe). Martini vermouth was available in New York beginning in at least the 1860s, suggesting a clear origin of the martini's name.
The key ingredient here is Old Tom Gin, lost for almost a century and recently revived. Hayman's Old Tom Gin is available at Ace Beverage in Northwest Washington.
- 1 1/2 ounces Old Tom Gin
- 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
- 2 or 3 dashes aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or Fee Brothers Old Fashion
- 1 twist of lemon peel, for garnish
Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice. Add the gin, vermouth and bitters to taste. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.
From "Imbibe!" by David Wondrich (Penguin, 2007).
Tested by Michael Taylor.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.