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Double Top-Secret, Three Button Deluxe

Super-Secret Martini Lounge!

How'd you get in here, Jack?

Doesn't anybody knock anymore?

Well, I guess you can stick around ... that is if it is copastetic with the cats in the band. Pull up a barstool and relax. Here's something to read while Ol' Fez mixes you up a dry one:

History of the Martini
Collected and edited by Daddy-O

As with the creation of many cocktails, there are differing arguments as to who was the first to create the Martini. The legends behind the Martini have varying recipes and names, none of which exactly fit the Martini recipe that exists today. A modern day Dry Martini consists of London Dry Gin and a varying amount of dry white Vermouth depending on taste. It can be garnished with an olive or a twist.

The most detailed history starts with a drink called the "Martinez" created around 1862. This particular drink called for four parts red, sweet Vermouth to one part Gin, garnished with a cherry. The first one was made with aromatic bitters and Old Tom Gin, which was very Junipery and sweet compared to today's standards. The transformation from Martinez into Martini happened gradually over time. First the Old Tom Gin was replaced with London Dry. Orange bitters took the place of the aromatic bitters. People began to replace the red, sweet Vermouth with a white, dry Vermouth. The proportions of the drink eventually became equal parts gin/vermouth and soon the Dry Martini appeared. The olive seems to have been included by the British, as its tart flavor complimented the dry gin more than the common twist. Cocktail onions were also employed at about this same time, and thus was born the Gibson.

If that story does not excite the taste buds, then perhaps some of these will.

Mixologist Jerry Thomas of San Francisco printed a bartending book in 1887 with his Martinez recipe (he claimed to have invented the drink for a miner in the mid-19th century). It called for one dash of aromatic Bitters, two dashes of Maraschino, one wine glass of Vermouth, two lamps of ice and a pony of Old Tom Gin, served with a quarter slice of lemon or a cherry.

In 1870 at Julio Richelieu's saloon in Martinez, California a small drink was mixed for an old, traveling miner. Julio placed an olive in the glass before handing it to the man, then named it after his town. To this day, Martinez, California continues to claim to be the birth place of the Martini.

There is a story that claims the drink's name came from the Martini and Henry rifle used by the British army around 1871. The key line was that the rifle and the drink shared a strong kick.

Thomas Stewart published "Stewart's Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them" in New York City during 1896. The book contained a recipe for a drink called the "Marquerite" which called for one dash orange bitters, 2/3 Plymouth Dry Gin, and 1/3 French Dry Vermouth. This particular recipe seems closest to today's version of the Martini.

The first recorded use of the word Martini appeared in the "How To Mix Drinks: or The Bon Vivant's Companion" published by Jerry Thomas in 1887.

In 1911 the head bartender of the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York, Martini di Arma di Taggia, mixed one part London Dry Gin, one part Noilly Prat Vermouth and a splash of orange bitters. He then chilled the drink on ice and strained it into a chilled glass cocktail glass. The regulars at the Knickerbocker asked for variations of the drink and eventually dropped the bitters and added the olive.

The drink came of age in the post-WWI period. From W.C Fields to Old Blue Eyes, Franklin D. Roosevelt to--of course--Bond (James Bond), the Martini came to be known as a power drink for the rich and famous.

In 1935 MGM was making China Seas, starring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. Robert Benchley, a featured player, was required to spend most of the day floating in the studio's water tank. When he was finally allowed to climb ashore he reputedly announced, "I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini." Never mind that publisher Bennett Cerf later claimed that the event happened at Cerf's house and not on a movie set, or that Alexander Woollcott, Charles Butterworth, Charles Brackett, and Mae West have also been given credit for the line both on and off screen.

FDR mixed Martinis with enthusiasm, but he occasionally introduced unconventional ingredients such as anisette or fruit juice and was said to be a sloppy mixer.

The famous writer Ernest Hemingway also enjoyed Martini's, his favorite being "The Montgomery" named after the WWII English Field Marshall who liked his odds on the battle field to be 15 to 1. Hemingway liked his ratio of gin to vermouth at 15 to 1, so that's why he would always call out for Montgomeries.

In his later years W.C. Fields started the day with two double Martinis--"angel's milk," he called them--one before breakfast and another one after. He took an oversized cocktail shaker full of Martinis to the studio for the day's shoot. It is estimated the actor drank about two quarts of gin a day. By the way, those things on his famous proboscis are called "gin blossoms" for a reason.

James Bond was the human embodiment of the Martini. Bond was reckless with his women, rough on enemy agents, but extremely precise about his cocktail, asking it to be, "Large and very strong and very well made." And more precisely, "Shaken and not stirred." In Casino Royale, Bond tells the beautiful double agent Vesper Lynd about his special Martini made with gin AND vodka and is suddenly inspired to name it for her. Hence, the birth of "The Vesper."

Richard Nixon, who liked his Martinis about seven to one, opted for the classic "In & Out" Martini (personal favorite of Daddy-O and Billy Rhythm). How to make the "In & Out?" Daddy-O says pour the vermouth into the shaker of ice, swing it around once, and ceremoniously empty it out before adding the gin. Mr. Rhythm likes to pour the vermouth into his chilled glass, swirl it, then empty it before straining the gin off ice and into the coated chalice. Mmmm, that's nice. By the way, Nixon reportedly was drinking Martinis the night the Watergate crisis drove him from office.

What is the Ultimate Martini?

If you ask Daddy-O he says it is:

Bombay Sapphire Gin
Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
Ice (made with filtered water)
One extra large cocktail olive (un-pitted)
A twist of lemon

First, put some crushed ice and water in the cocktail glass to chill it while you mix the drink. Next, fill the shaker to half with cubed ice. Pour in 1oz of Vermouth. Shake briefly, then carefully pour out all liquid. Pour in Sapphire to desired amount. Swirl briefly. Empty ice water from cocktail glass and dry, rub the lemon twist on the rim of the glass and drop in. Pour off gin into glass. Sink the olive (no pick, just drop it in). Enjoy.

Ol' Fez says "A Martini is Gin and Vermouth, with an olive or a twist. Nothing else. Any deviation in ingredients from those four and you're not having a Martini, you're just drinking a cocktail. Many will disagree with me, but they are wrong. On this point, I will not yield."

By the way, don't disagree with Ol' Fez. Man, he was serving Martinis to gorgeous dames when your granddaddy was in diapers! Oh, and in case you had too many and wake up with a hangover, try Ol' Fez's surefire "Hatrack Hangover Remedy." For this cure, you need the following components: A hatrack and a fifth of gin. The procedure? Simple. Set the hatrack in front of your chair. Now, drink gin until you see two hatracks. Presto! No more hangover! Thanks Fez!

No matter the actual history, or what apocryphal tale you subscribe to, the quest for the perfect Martini continues. "Martini Bars" abound and the popularity seems to grow with each subsequent generation. The variations on the drink have grown to infinite proportions, utilizing every possible combination of spirits, mixers and confections. Regardless of this newfound popularity, to the true aficionado there is only one Martini; it is gin, it is dry, it is served "up" and you can use one of two garnishes - the olive, and/or the twist.

To quote our beloved mentor Rosemont "Thatch" Johnson:
"One Martini is just right ... two is too many ... and three is not enough."