First off, what alcohol is in a martini?
If you answered Vodka, you are right.
If you answered Gin, you are right.
Both of these ingredients have had their heyday in the traditional martini. In America the gin martini was most common up until about the 1960's. This was about the time when Ian Flemming's character James Bond was saying, "Shaken, not stirred", referring to his vodka martini.
The Vodka Martini(also known as The Kangaroo) took over as the more popular cocktail, and remained that way until the 1990's.
At this time Martinis were reinvented. A martini became anything that was served in the martini glass. This opened up the types of ingredients bartenders were able to use while mixing the popular beverage. This invariably lead to an innumerable amount of variations on the traditional martini.
Some of the more popular concoctions include: the Apple Martini, the Chocolate Martini, the Cosmopolitan(famed by the girls of "Sex in the City"), the Lemon Drop, the Manhattan, and the Key Lime Pie Martini.
Let's look at two Martini recipes.
Classic Gin Martini
5 parts Gin
1 part dry Vermouth
Chill one martini glass with ice and water. Combine ingredients in tin and shake until the outside of the tin is cold to the touch. Strain into emptied and chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion or 3 olives.
There are so many variations on Martini preparation they would be to many to list. If you are looking for more information on that, try this well-written and witty FAQ on the Martini.
6 parts Vodka
3 parts Triple-Sec
2 parts Cranberry Juice
1 splash fresh Lime Juice
Chill one martini glass with ice and water. Combine ingredients in tin and shake until the outside of the tin is cold to the touch. Strain into emptied and chilled martini glass. No garnish. Take the first sip while facing the general direction of New York City.
If you're interested in James Bond's Martini. This one is called, The Vesper.
If you would like to hire a bartender in the Chicagoland area, please contact me, and check out the rest of my website.
If you would like to learn more about bartending, consider taking one of our Entertainment Education classes on the subject.
In good times,