The original martini was supposedly invented by the Italian bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City just before the outbreak of World War I.
His recipe contained equal parts of dry gin and dry vermouth with orange bitters added. Another legend claims that it was named for the Martini & Henry rifle used by the British Army for 20 years between 1870 and 1890 because both the rifle and the drink delivered a strong kick.
Over the decades the proportion of dry vermouth to gin decreased with the modern martini delivering a ratio of 25 parts gin to one part vermouth. To purists, a martini should be made with ice coated with vermouth which is then thrown away.
Perhaps the popularity of the martini has more to do with the marketing of gin by liquor companies during the 1950s, and vodka in the 1970s. When Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich, David Niven and Humphrey Bogart were seen drinking martinis in public or on screen, everyone wanted to drink them as well.
Yet, no real or fictional character has done as much for the classic martini as James Bond. In fact, Bond drank a Martini – shaken not stirred – only once - in Casino Royale. It was a drink christened the Vesper, made of half gin and half vodka, and symbolized the double agent Vesper Lynd, whom Bond was in love with. After she commits suicide he never drinks another.
Stiff Martinis are not popular these days. Most bartenders are letting the delicate gin and vodkas marinate in ice for longer, both diluting the strength and softening the molecules. “Dirty” martinis are popular as well, a dilution of the drink with olive juice.
Here are five of the best Martinis tested by RiverTribe.
Maitre D: Kristian Kum
Type: The Creme de Violette adds a distinctive floral note to the cocktail.
50 ml Plymouth Gin, 25 ml Fresh Lemon Juice, 20 ml Maraschino Liqueur, 10 ml Creme de Violette
Best for originality
Type: Classic Snow Goose Vodka Martini Vermouth Proportion of 25:1
Best for purists
The Petersham Hotel
Type: Classit. Ingredients: Grey Goose Vodka Noilly Prat Vermouth
Proportion: Just a dash of vermouth
Best for consistency and the unbeatable view from the bar
One Duke Street
Type: Classic Ingredients: Vodka Martini Vermouth Proportions: 25:1
Best for a good standard martini and small, hip glasses
Type: Classic with a twist. Ingredients: Absolute Vodka Martini Vermouth Proportion 20:1
with ice crystals remaining in the finished drink
Best for refreshing elegance
5 of the best...fitness studios
Staying fit is always a matter of application and diligence but knowing where to go for what you want to achieve is important too.
Here RiverTribe Editor, Linda Duberley, reviews, five gyms and studios which provide something for everyone in their efforts to stay healthy.
Roko Gym, Chiswick Bridge
Best for facilities
This is a gym that provides almost every activity under one roof. The 20m pool is sufficient for drills. Besides training at Shepperton Lake, this is where I trained for the Huntsman 2016 Triathlon so it can clearly support a sustained fitness programme and the staff are highly supportive.
The gym is exceptionally large and well-equipped and always has a team of qualified instructors standing by. There are a wide range of classes including Yoga, some classes led by RiverTribe writer Sarah Tucker, Pilates, Zumba etc.
Roko Gym, Chiswick Bridge, 0208 747 5757 www.roko.co.uk/chiswick
Best for core strength development.
I used to think that ballet was an aesthetically pleasing form of entertainment which required discipline and a strict diet. I had no idea how tough these exercises are nor how fit ballet dancers had to be. All but the simplest manoeuvres required an enormous effort and even then I still seemed to have achieved very little. This is a series of exercises designed to push you to your limits, but it is worth it just to get rid of the dreaded muffin top.
Barreworks. Richmond 020 8940 5746 www.barreworks.co.uk
Best Yoga Studio
Samantha Trinder’s haven close to the Bingham Hotel, owned by her family, is the perfect space for yoga practice. Yogis need peace and tranquillity – not just for their physical efforts but for their mental focus as well. This provides both. If you are lucky enough to be a member there is a private space where you can relax after your practice. It is unrivalled in the local area. The coffee bar at the front is full of nutritious snacks, tea, coffee and delectable smoothies.
bhuti, Richmond 0330 400 3108 email@example.com
Best for busy Mums
For many years I was a member at the Cedars Health and Leisure Club. I lived very close by and had small children, two of whom were very young. Cedars has a well-supervised crèche which is a massive plus for any busy Mum anxious to stay fit while raising a family. The gym is small but well-equipped and the pool is big enough for a decent swim. Afterwards you can use either the steam room or the sauna before relaxing in the giant Jacuzzi. You may feel that you have earned a toasted spinach and cheese panini and cappuccino while the children get a smoothie. That’s certainly what I used to do.
Cedars, Richmond 0844 855 9139 www.cedarshealthclub.com
Best for achievable goals
If you want to maintain fitness but don’t want to test your endurance too much, this is the place for you. I joined this gym when I moved into my house and it was marvellous for giving me a foundation of fitness which helped me move toward training for a triathlon. It uses s special system of rotating different exercises but asks you to test you pulse so that you know exactly how effective you exercise regime is being. It is also a good safety procedure. The staff are lovely, friendly and encouraging and it is just a short walk down to the lovely Craft Robin Café for a restorative drink.
Curves Women’s Gym, Sheen 020 8876 1839 www.curves.eu/uk
©RiverTribe Magazine 2017