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Shaken Or Stirred? The History of the Martini

Shaken Or Stirred? The History of the Martini

The Martini; although a classic serve, is one that has undergone some significant changes over time. We personally like ours dry with Snow Leopard Vodka and a sprig of rosemary a la Conservation Martini, but the choice, of course, is yours. To demystify, here is the history of the Martini as far as we know.


Originally conceived in the 1890’s, the Martinez (later Martini) featured gin, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. Such were the tastes of people at the end of the 19th Century. Fast forward to the 1930’s however, and the drink more closely resembles the one we know today; featuring gin, dry vermouth and Angostura bitters. 


Although it is certain that the Martinez was created in California, sources differ, stating that the name originated either in the small town of Martinez or at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. 


There too, are many tales as to the change of name to Martini. One, that bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia mixed the drink for John D. Rockefeller while working at the Knickerbocker Hotel, New York in 1911, and so his patron decided to rename the drink after him. Another is that the change came when Officers in the British Army likened the power of the drink to the shot of their ‘Martini and Henry’ rifle. 


During the 1940’s vodka was initiated into the cocktail as Americans developed a palette for lighter spirits and a move away from the bathtub gin of Prohibition. A spirit popular almost exclusively in Eastern Europe until this point gained momentum during World War II. 


Throughout the history of the Martini there is one vital component that remains undecided – shaken or stirred? There are advantages to both methods depending on your preference. To shake a Martini will have a much quicker result although will contain bubbles and possible shards of ice. Stirring, although a much slower process yields a smoother appearance and a less-watered down consistency.


How do you like your Martini? Tag your photos #RareCharacter



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Snow Leopard Vodka is perfect for a classic martini, served on the rocks and in premium cocktails.

Snow Leopard Trust

The Snow Leopard Trust is the world's largest organization in the study and protection of the endangered Snow Leopard. 15% of all our profits go directly to the Trust to help them on their mission.

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