I can’t think of any other cocktail that has quite so much eminence in the world of drinking. It’s the drink of James Bond, of tough men in suits, of smoky nights at bars with jazz, of glamor. It’s so well-known that even the cocktail glass is usually called a martini glass.
H. L. Mencken once said that the martini was “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”
There are many variations on the martini. Dry/extra dry = less vermouth, more gin. Dirty means add in a splash of olive juice. Some people make theirs with vodka. Some people shake instead of stir. But this is the beginning of it all.