So what's the deal with martinis?

This is gonna sound like a Seinfeld episode, but. . .

Why the triangular (actually, invered conical) glass?

What’s the deal with “stirring” vs “shaking?”

What’s the purpose of this “martini mister” I saw advertised in one of these “Sharper Image” type catalogs?

a) The Cocktail Glass serves to hold many different types of drinks, not only martinis. The shape is less important than the fact that it’s a stemmed glass, which means you can hold it and convey it to your lips without touching the part that holds the chilled booze (and warming it up with your hairy paws).

b) The shaken/stirred controversy arises from the importance of getting the martini as cold as possible (to please the palate) without clouding the gin (to please the eyes). You shake the drink, it gets colder, but less pretty. Stirring doesn’t chill to the same extent, but it looks damn good when you pour it into your iced cocktail glass.

I never specify stirred or shaken when I order one, because it seems overly fussy to me (and I’m already being teased for asking for the martini to be served very dry, straight up, and garnished with an olive). Sometimes I do ask for it to be “as cold as the barkeep can manage,” indicating that I’d rather it taste good than look good.

c) I have no idea. What IS a “martini miser” ?



“John C., it looks like you have blended in very nicely.”

I might add that when Uke orders his martinis “very dry, straight up, and garnished with an olive” at the Algonquin, he gets a befuddled look from the waiter.

Things have changed there since the '20s . . .

I’m just now getting interested in bar drinks, and just bought myself a cocktail shaker. I’ve developed quite a taste for Cosmopolitans.

Shaking is very important when it comes to mixing juices or thicker liquers with thinner spirits like vodka or gin. Stirring doesn’t get them good and mixed. Shaking does.

And yes, shaking also gets the drink nice and cold, as Uke said.


Leslie Irish Evans

The “martini mister” looked like a perfume atomizer, with which one would “mist” a hint of (some liquor) into the martini.

The the thing about “dry” martinis (aka gin) is that they are supposed to contain some vermouth, but as little as humanly possible–there are lots of jokes about just waving the vermouth bottle at the glass, etc. My guess about the mister would be that it is used to add just the tiniest amount of vermouth.

My favorite of the “dry martini” recipies is to pour the gin into a clear glass, then open a single curtain in the room with the gin. Hold the bottle of vermouth so that the incoming sunlight passes through the bottle and into the glass; hold for two minutes.

Personally, I prefer my martinis kind of wet. And with olives. But then, I’m a Philistine.


“John C., it looks like you have blended in very nicely.”

You’ve hit upon another martini-related question, without anybody coming right out and saying it.

Why this “very, very, very dry martini” crap, rather than asking for straight gin or gin on the rocks?

You don’t ask for a dry Manhattan, you ask for whiskey straight or rocks.

“I am a news-paper man, damn it! Come to the point with me, sir, or take your business elsewhere!” - T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher, The Onion

A good bartender I know swirls some vermouth in the glass and pours it out before putting in the gin for an “extra dry.”
I’ll have to agree w/KeithM–when someone wants it really, really, really dry…why not just swig some gin out of a bottle and chew an olive?
By the way, Zigy’s love of the 3 for 1 is very wet, even by 1930’s standards.

I read in the newspaper the other day that researchers found shaken martinis retain a tiny tiny bit more anti-oxidents than stirred ones. Maybe James Bond had it right. Or, maybe so researchers have too much time on their hands.

No, but he shows up to the NYC SDMB meetings anyway.


If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I’d be at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose.

KeithM asks

Because whisky drinkers don’t mind if you know that they just want to drink whiskey. Gin drinkers will pretty much do whatever it takes to make it seem that they are drinking something else. I mean, really, Gin and tonic? Quinine? You can barely swallow that stuff! Unless you are a gin drinker, of course, then it is a flavor enhancement.


The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying bastards.
Alexander Jablokov, Place of No Shadows

Hey, don’t knock that quinine water–I drink tonic water with a twist of lime sans the gin to avoid getting into trouble–I like it :slight_smile:

In the Shaken or Stirred controversy, the classical reason for selecting Stirred was that shaking the martini with ice would “bruise” the gin – or so I was told in the days of my callow youth. I never understood this concept; can anyone elaborate on this idea and what the “bruising” refers to?

And Ike, I’m the “martini miser” you asked about. I can make them last for hours!

If a way to do a job wrong exists, someone someday will do it that way.

  • Capt. Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. (yes, THAT Murphy)
    Developmental Engineer, Edwards AFB, 1941

Gin had a very bad reputation in the 18th and early 19th century – almost as bad as crack.

As to Gin and Tonic, I’m pretty much a non-drinker, because to me it all tastes like especially horrid medicine, and I genuinely don’t enjoy being intoxicated. But if I’m in a social situation where accepting a drink seems like the best idea, I ask for Gin and Tonic. The two nasty flavors seem to cancel each other out, somehow.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

I thought I read somewhere on the Internet (is it capitalized or not?) that gin and tonic as a cocktail had as its origin the malaria infested countries and a pleasant way to take quinine. The info above regarding gin as crack might make this seem less likely.

Another general question, who invents these drinks? I worked in a popular bar in DC with a bartender named Terry Mooney. He claimed to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea. How do you know?

Bobby O:
Somewhere on the Internet? How about right here on the Internet!


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Thanks JMCJ! I thoguht it might be here, but it sucks to be wrong about anything on this forum.

It was invented as a way to get British soldiers to take their quinine. (Gin had a bad reputation all right, but people were less inclined to interfere with other people’s bad habits back then.)

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams