For all the sleuthing done by cocktail historians, no one seems to have turned up a solid story for the birth of the dry gin Martini, the only certainty being that this classic cocktail has run the gamut of flavors, from subtly sweet to deathly dry and sometimes even dirty, over the course of its nebulous history.
By nature, the Martini is a strong drink, typically two parts base spirit to one part vermouth, with the occasional dash of bitters. Some renditions, however, are particularly potent: the Vesper, James Bond’s drink of choice in Casino Royale, is a heady mixture of gin and vodka in equal measure, while the similarly spiritous Gibson comes with a pickled onion garnish for a hint of salinity.
At the other end of the spectrum, fruit juices can make for sweeter interpretations of the original formula, like in the indulgent Porn Star Martini, which sees vodka, passion fruit and vanilla served alongside a shot of pink Champagne. And of course, there is the classic Cosmopolitan, the pink-hued stalwart created by New York bartender Toby Cecchini, but made famous by Sex and the City.
A tantalizingly easy template to modify, the drink has spurred countless variations over the years. Here, now, all of the Martinis for all hours and all seasons.
The gin classic.
The OG gets an onion.
Gin, meet sherry.
The original ingredients, with an updated ratio.
A Maraschino-laced take on the classic.
An aromatic, apricot-infused spin.
Flashier, with absinthe and créme de violette.
A mellow Martini in Negroni’s clothing.
Bone dry and ice cold.
A spiritous punch of vodka and gin.
Flame of Love
Sherry and bitters, with a dramatic finish.
A double dose of vodka and gin, shaken not stirred.
A gin Martini with sweet vermouth.
Bittersweet and herbal.
A citrusy riff on the Gin Sour.
LCD Soundsystem’s Espresso Martini
A caffeinated, coffee-flavored classic.
A vodka-based version fortified with coffee liqueur.
Cafe du Maine
Coffee brandy, cognac and a shot of vanilla syrup.
Alexander the Great
The Espresso Martini’s creamier cousin.
Grapefruit Basil Martini
A tiki take on a classic.
A cranberry Cape-Codder gets a sophisticated makeover.
Porn Star Martini
Passion fruit and vodka get a Champagne chaser.
Piquant and boozy with a hint of lemon.
A floral, fruity ode to the original.
A sake-based riff with a salted cherry blossom garnish.