One of the world’s most famous and beloved weekend cocktails is the Martini, a simple mix of vermouth and gin garnished with an olive or lemon peel. Many drinkers don’t realize that the Martini has a long and fascinating history behind it, dating back to well before James Bond ordered his “shaken, not stirred.” You can discover the history behind the Martini by reading below:
Foggy Origins As is the case with many popular foods and drinks, the origins of the Martini are still up for debate. Many credit a bartender named Julio Richelieu, who is said to have invented the Martini around 1870, calling it a “Martinez.” This was certainly one of the first Martini recipes to be published, appearing in print in 1867. In New York City, a popular opinion is that a bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia invented the cocktail in 1911, while he was working at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. The legend states that upon seeing billionaire John D. Rockefeller sit down at his bar, di Taggia whipped up a custom cocktail using two ingredients that were very popular amongst the elite: gin and vermouth. He finished it off with a splash of bitters, lemon peel, and an olive. Rockefeller was delighted by this cocktail, and he spread the word to his friends on Wall Street, the Martini found its place in American bars.
Modern Variation Over the next several decades, Americans slowly lost their taste for the acrid, pungent flavor of gin, which almost led to the Martini’s extinction on bar menus. Luckily, the surging popularity of vodka in the 1980s led many crafty bartenders to use it in place of the gin, and the Martini has maintained its status as a beloved and oft-ordered cocktail.
We make incredible Martinis here at Birk’s Restaurant, perfect for unwinding with friends after a night out in nearby San José. Our fully stocked bar allows us to prepare it exactly to your specifications, whether you want it with top-shelf gin, vodka, or even both, as James Bond made famous in Casino Royale. Learn more about what else our fine steakhouse has to offer by calling (408) 512-3265.