Porn star martinis are firmly out of fashion and someone still might propose espresso martinis for all at 1 a.m. on a Thursday — they’d be correct — but London’s bartenders and bar drinkers have moved towards simplicity in their cocktail tastes. Menus denote refined elegance citywide, and so the renewed rise of classics like martinis can be explained.
The origin of the martini is disputed. Two stories link San Francisco, Martinez, California, and the Gold Rush of the 1800s — one with the mixologist du jour Jerry Thomas, the other with an unnamed bartender — claiming the ‘Martinez’ cocktail as the origin. Italian bartender Martini di Mama di Taggia of NYC’s Knickerbocker Hotel claimed creation at the turn of the 20th century; some link it to a British Army rifle (Martini & Henry); and then there’s the theory of the marketing whiles of Martini & Rossi vermouth. Literature’s Bad Boys have also played their part in the martini’s mystique – Hemingway endorsed it; Bond drank it.
But the joy of the martini is that it’s the amuse bouche of the amuse bouche, it is there to whet the appetite. It is the eater’s drink. The correct time for a bone dry martini with a twist is before lunch, and a dirty martini or a Gibson is needed before dinner. So, here are the best martini spots in town — and, dear purists, the concept of the martini is one that has evolved, so be daring with the drinks you sip.Read More