What do Warhol, Fellini, Formula One, the Negroni and Clooney have in common? MARTINI®, celebrating 150 years in 2013!
When Americans hear the word MARTINI, most of them would picture the drink favored by James Bond. But in most other parts of the world, MARTINI can only refer to the iconic Italian winemaker. In fact, throughout Europe, if you were to order a “martini” you would receive a glass of MARTINI Bianco Vermouth on the rocks with a lemon twist.
On July 1st and throughout the rest of the year, the storied brand will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary. MARTINI has left an indelible mark on both popular culture and cocktail culture – from its use as an ingredient in some of history’s most classic cocktails, to ad campaigns designed by the legendary Andy Warhol and commercials featuring George Clooney, to a dedicated MARTINI bar at the Dolce & Gabbana flagship store in Milan – MARTINI truly knows no bounds. Drinks like the Negroni and the Americano would not be complete without MARTINI Vermouth, and mixologists continue to be inspired by MARTINI today.
Created in 1863 by Luigi Rossi and Alessandro Martini, the company has grown and developed into a category leader, with MARTINI Asti as the number one-selling imported sparkling wine in the United States and MARTINI Vermouth, the number one-selling brand in both the United States and the world. The brand’s portfolio is vast and differs from country to country, offering superior quality vermouths and sparkling wines.
For many people, it’s hard to make the connection between the brand behind the 1970s “Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante” jingle and the chic, authentically Italian wine enjoyed by celebrities like Sophia Loren and Federico Fellini. For this reason, in celebration of the brand’s 150th year, join me with a toast.. There are so many stories about the brand just waiting to be told, and this momentous anniversary seems like the perfect time to drink the real MARTINI.
Consider celebrating with these drinks on July 1st, the true Anniversary date, as well as for the big American Holiday of the 4th of July.
MARTINI CLASSIC COCKTAILS
Americano: Bright red and bittersweet, the Americano was born as the "Milano-Torino" at Gasparre Campari`s bar, Caffè Camparino in the 1861. The Campari came from Milan and the sweet vermouth from Turin, Italy, the original home of MARTINI. The cocktail eventually became known as the Americano due to the habit of American tourists to adda splash of soda or sparkling water to the drink.
Recipe: 1 oz. Campari
1 oz. MARTINI Sweet Vermouth
Pour the Campari and Sweet Vermouth into highball glass filled with ice and stir.
Top up with soda water and garnish an orange wedge and lemon twist.
Negroni: This classic Italian cocktail was first served sometime before 1920 at the Bar Cassoni in Florence (Alessandro MARTINI, founder of the brand, was originally from Florence). Bartender Fosco Scarselli created this drink for regular patron, Count Camillo Negroni, who was asking for an “Americano” with a dash of Gin.
1.25 oz. Gin
1.25 oz. Campari
1.25 oz. MARTINI Sweet Vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into chilled coupe or over ice in a chilled rocks glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.
-J.S. Bruscart, Cien Cocktails, 1943
Manhattan: Regardless of the cocktail’s origin, the popularity of Italian vermouth in the latter half of the 19th century made it inevitable that it would eventually end up in the Whiskey cocktail. Probably first concocted in New York City`s Manhattan Club, it was originally mentioned in print in 1884.
2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey
1 oz. MARTINI Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with three brandied cherries on a pick.
-O.H. Byron, Modern Bartender’s Guide, 1884
Martinez: While the origin of the Martini is widely debated, many people consider the Martinez to be the Martini’s precursor. It first appeared in Jerry Thomas`s Bartender Guide in the 1880s.
1 oz. Old Genève
2oz. MARTINI Sweet Vermouth
1 dash oranges bitters
2 dashes maraschino liqueur
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
- Putting Torino on the Map – MARTINI’s production site moved to the small village of Pessione, about 15km outside Torino in 1867. However, the brand has always kept offices in Torino, its original home. MARTINI is very much part of the city’s success and the Rossi family were directly involved in the city’s promotion and development.
- Popularizing MARTINI - Alessandro Martini recruited many enterprising and far-sighted young Italians (even some members of his own family) to be MARTINI ambassadors across the world. Imbued with the spirit of the company, they were sent from Turin to establish distribution networks across the world.
- Advertising Icon - The early lithographic designs for the MARTINI advertising posters started in 1885 and formed the first advertising medium for the brand. From the 1900’s to the 1960’s MARTINI commissioned great poster artists to explore their brand through advertising. They included the Italian Armando Testa, one of the greatest poster artists of all time and the founder of modern advertising, as well as Andy Warhol another legendary artist. Modern MARTINI advertisements have featured celebrities like George Clooney and Charlize Theron.
- MARTINI and Sports - MARTINI has always had an involvement with sport, recognizing the daring, thrilling lifestyles of great competitors. In the 1920’s and 1930’s MARTINI began sponsoring cycling, as the Rossi di Montelera family were keen sportsman in their own right. MARTINI’s hit its stride in the world of motor racing sponsoring with Spanish Gran Prix in 1951. For over forty years MARTINI racing has continued the love affair through rallying to FORMULA ONE®.
- TERRAZZA MARTINI - The original concept came in 1948 from MARTINI France, which opened a hospitality lounge on the top floor of their building in the Champs Elysées which had a huge terrace and garden. By the 1950’s it had become known as the TERRAZA MARTINI. By 1965 there were TERRAZA MARTINI in London, Brussels, Milan, Geneva, Barcelona, San Paolo and Pessione. Championed by Metello Rossi, who had extensive contacts in the celebrity world, they became cultural mouthpieces for the celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Federico Fellini, who launched anything and everything at the TERRAZA MARTINI. Although many of the original sites have been closed, the TERRAZA MARTINI continues as an international cultural event.