Martini's should be cold and strong just like John Snow, the glass should be chilled to achieve this icy goodness. Light & floral or umami are good options unless you get lost on a boozy adventure full of oil and chilli powder or cucumbers.
We like to steep tinctures using dandelion, lavender, saffron (plentiful amounts and you may get high like the priestesses of ancient Crete), pink pepper berry leaf, lantana, lemon myrtle and finger lime just to name a few. These make wonderful replacements for vermouth. Just a few drops can accentuate the botanicals in the gin. For those olive type days, wild olive & fennel tincture makes for deliciously dirty martini's.
The origin of this American Classic can be washed away in many a dubious myth behind the bar. Those in San Francisco claim the drink is the creation of their famed El Dorado hero Jerry Thomas. During a whole heap of 19th century gold rush, a traveler en route to Martinez, California, threw a gold nugget in the direction of Thomas, asked him to mix him something special, hence a drink named ‘The Martinez’ followed to whet his lips. When this got scribed in 1887, it contained a whole heap of the sweeter Old Tom gin, maraschino & bitters.
Ask those in Martinez and you’ll hear more chat about a Saloon owning French guy named Julio Richelieu, who after trading a bottle of Rotgut for some gold nuggets, smoothed over a disheartened 49er with a tasty tipple containing an olive, a ‘Martinez’.
Six of one, half a dozen of another, you’re best off going and sticking one in your face pretty soon.
As Dorothy Parker put it “A martini is like a woman’s breasts - one is too few & three is too many”