MANNERS & MORALS: Drier & Drier


The inventor of the dry martini is lost in history's haze. Some romantic gin-and-vermouth scholars say it was St. Martin of Tours, patron of tosspots. Others hold that a tipsy barkeep at San Francisco's Palace Hotel happened on the formula by accident before World War I. The Italian vermouth company, Martini & Rossi, is sometimes credited with first honors, and an 1862 bartender's manual describes a "martinez" which contains the basic ingredient but adds maraschino and bitters. Whatever its origin, there is no doubt that the martini is America's favorite cocktail.

As its cult has developed, the martini has suffered...

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