Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19 - National Martini Day

1912 The United States government adopted an 8-hour work day. (I’m still waiting!) 1931 The first commercial doors operated by a photoelectric cell were installed on the swinging doors between the kitchen and dining room of Wilcox's Pier Restaurant in West Haven, Connecticut.
 1941 General Mills introduced 'Cherioats.' The name was changed to 'Cherrios' in 1945. 1978 Garfield, the lasagna eating cat was born. He was brought into this world by cartoonist Jim Davis.
1987 Ben & Jerry Ice Cream introduced a new Ice Cream flavor, Cherry Garcia.


June 19 - National Martini Day
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B. White called it "the elixir of quietude.”
Although there are many variations, in modern practice the standard martini is a mix of gin coupled with dry vermouth usually in a five-to-one ratio. Shaker mixing is common due to influences of popular culture, notably the fictional spy James Bond, who sometimes asked for his vodka martini to be "shaken, not stirred". However, stirring has a long history. Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) prescribes stirring for all its martini recipes. Somerset Maugham's opinion was that "a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another".
The martini was originally made with sweet vermouth. A person who wanted a "dry martini" asked for one made with white vermouth. Until World War II the standard proportion was 1 part vermouth to 3 to 3 ½ parts gin. These days the dryness of a martini refers to the amount of vermouth used in the drink, with a very dry martini having little or no Vermouth.  A wet martini has a significant amount of vermouth added.  A dirty martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice.
The exact origin of the martini is unclear. Numerous cocktails with names and ingredients similar to the modern-day martini were first seen in bartending guides of the late 19th century.  One theory suggests it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco sometime in the early 1860s, which people frequented before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez. Alternatively, the people of Martinez say the drink was first created by a bartender in their town. Another theory links the first dry martini to the name of a bartender who concocted the drink at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City in 1911 or 1912.
But it was Prohibition and the relative ease of illegal gin manufacture that led to the martini's rise as the predominant cocktail of the mid 20th century in the United States. With the repeal of Prohibition, and the ready availability of quality gin, the drink became progressively dryer.



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