Jun 16, 2017

First Martini

Like many drink recipes, Martini origins are fuzzy. The precise origins of the martini remain obscure, with a number of people and locations vying for the honor of being home to the cocktail. The town of Martinez, California put up a plaque to proclaim itself the birthplace of the Martini. According to the plaque, situated at 911 Alhambra Avenue, the very first Martini was mixed on that spot.

The plaque records the story: “On this site in 1874, Julio Richelieu, bartender, served up the first Martini when a miner came into his saloon with a fistful of nuggets and asked for something special. He was served a 'Martinez Special'. After three or four drinks, however, the ‘Z’ would get in the way. The drink consisted of 2/3 gin, 1/3 vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, poured over crushed ice and served with an olive.”

Another theory suggests it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served sometime in the early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, which people frequented before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez.

Others assert that the drink was named after “Martini & Rossi” vermouth, which was first created in the mid-1800s. Apparently in the interest of brevity, the drink became known as the 'Martini'.