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An A-Z of Food and Drink
John Ayto


First and foremost, Martini is the proprietary name of a brand of Italian vermouth produced by the company Martini and Rossi. But since the 1890s it has been used for a cocktail made from dry vermouth and gin. The vermouth need not be Martini: indeed the story goes that the cocktail was originally named after a New York barman called Martinez who first concocted it, and only subsequently became martini through association with the brand of vermouth. However that may be, it was certainly one of the earliest of the classic mixed drinks, well predating the post-First World War cocktail age, and it even rated a mention in the 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. The dry martini, the version favoured by sophisticates, contains a higher proportion of gin (about four parts, or even more, to one of vermouth) than the ordinary martini.

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