Happy Martini Day! 5 Great Martini Recipes to Try

Happy Martini Day! Shaken, or stirred? James Bond took vodka martinis mainstream in the 1960s. "Sex and the City" made them fruity and flirty. Thanks to "Mad Men," the iconic cocktail came back, all retro-chic. However you like them best -- shaken, stirred, dry, dirty, or spiked with juice or flavored vodkas -- stock up on supplies and get ready to celebrate, because June 19th is National Martini Day.

Personally, we prefer the classic: Dry gin and white vermouth, with a twist of lemon. At least, it's what we think of as the classic; it actually showed up on the bar scene sometime in the 1940s.

The martini's roots go back to the 1600s, when both gin and vermouth were invented. Gin was created by Francois de Boe Sylvius, a Dutch medical professor who mixed grain alcohol with juniper berry oil, called it "genever," and used it to purify the blood and treat kidney disorders, stomach aches, gout, and gallstones. Vermouth was born in Italy; it also contains juniper, but back then it was a sweet, concoction of white wine flavored with spices, orange peel, wormwood flowers, and tree bark. It was believed to have special healing properties, the experts at Martini Muse explain, but it's greatest benefit may have been the fact that "Drinking it also meant that Europeans could forego drinking their own polluted water."

No one knows who first decided to mix the two together -- the Martinez, an 1880s cocktail with gin, sweet vermouth, and maraschino juice, may have been the starting point. But by the early 20th century, a martini consisted of gin, white vermouth, and a dash or two of orange bitters. And when James Bond gave his famous drink order in the 1960s -- "Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred" -- the vodka martini went mainstream.

Classic Martini

1 1/2 ounces London dry or Plymouth gin
1 1/2 ounces French white dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Orange peel for garnish

Combine the gin, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with 2 cups of ice. Stir gently for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with a twist of orange peel.

Dirty Martini

2 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce dry white vermouth
olive brine to taste
olives for garnish

Combine gin and vermouth in a cocktail shaker with 2 cups of ice. Add a dash of olive brine, and shake briskly. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and add several olives.

Vesper Martini
Fans will recognize this as the drink James Bond ordered in "Casino Royale." Kina Lillet is a brand of vermouth made in France; if you can't find it, dry white vermouth will do.

1 1/2 ounces Gordon's gin
1/2 ounce vodka
1/4 ounce Kina Lillet or dry vermouth
lemon peel for garnish

Combine the gin, vodka, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker with 2 cups of ice. Shake well, strain into a chilled martini glass, and add, per James Bond, "a large, thin slice of lemon peel."

Purists may scoff, but this fruity recipe is plenty popular

1 1/2 ounces apple-flavored vodka
1 ounce apple schnapps

Stir ingredients together with crushed ice. Strain and serve.


1 1/4 ounces vodka
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce cranberry juice
lemon peel for garnish

Combine vodka, triple sec, and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

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