The Bastard Offspring of Martini

z-cocktail hatVariations on the simple, elegant, versatile martini are legion. After the beautifully stylish libation was created, people started fiddling with it. An endless flurry of a dash of this and a splash of that graced every well-polished bar from New York to San Francisco. Just look at Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book. Almost every page has a concoction composed of gin, vermouth, and something else. He also had the good sense to not confuse things any further by calling them all martinis; because they aren’t. If you have the inclination (and the patience) to hear me pontificate further on the subject of what is, and isn’t, a martini, please hop over to my earlier post (click here).

Below are just a few of the many riffs on the dry martini from a variety of sources. Few drinks are as accommodating as the classic combination of gin and vermouth. Within these variations, one can also change both the style of gin and brand of vermouth for seemingly endless combinations. Old Tom with Dolin’s dry? Plymouth with Noilly Prat? Beefeater with M&R for that 1970’s vibe? Needless to say, all these drinks should be stirred (not shaken) with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnishes vary and are listed with each drink.

Marguerite (Old Mr. Boston Official Bartenders Guide)

2 oz Gin

1 oz Dry Vermouth

1 dash Orange Bitters

1 dash Curacao

Garnish: olive

Poet’s Dream (Straub’s Manual)

2 oz Gin

1 oz Dry Vermouth

2 dashes Benedictine

2 dashes Orange Bitters

(The Savoy Cocktail Book’s version is equal parts gin, vermouth, and Benedictine without the bitters, but with a lemon peel garnish)

Olivette (Straub’s Manual)

1 oz Gin

1 oz Dry Vermouth

3 dashes Absinthe

3 dashes Orange Bitters

1 dash Angostura Bitters

1 dash Simple Syrup

Garnish: lemon peel

Silver (Cocktails: How to Mix Them)

1 ½ oz Gin

1 ½ oz Dry Vermouth

3-4 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Garnish: expressed lemon peel

(Straub’s Silver Cocktail uses a 2:1 ratio of gin to sweet vermouth)

Third Degree (Old Waldorf)

1 ¾ oz Gin

¼ oz Dry Vermouth

2-3 dashes Absinthe

(Vermeire’s version is equal parts gin and vermouth with two dashes of orange bitters and three of maraschino or curacao in addition to the absinthe)

Atta Boy (Savoy Cocktail Book)

2 oz Gin

1 oz Dry Vermouth

4 dashes Grenadine

See the Sources Guide for more information on the different manuals consulted.

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z 1920 bathing beauties

It’s six o’clock; my drink is at the three-quarter mark—three-quarters down, not three-quarters up—and the night begins.  

Cornell Woolrich “New York Blues”