Martini Cocktail

from The Craft of the Cocktail

  • 2-3 dashes (careful – not too much) Gum Syrup
  • 2-3 dashes Bokers Bitters (substitute Angostura Bitters)
  • 1 dash Curaçao (Optional)
  • 1 dash Absinthe (Optional)
  • Half a wineglass Old Tom Gin
  • Half a wineglass Sweet Italian Vermouth
  • Cherry (Garnish) (Optional)
  • medium-size Olive (Garnish) (Optional)
  • Lemon Peel (Garnish)

Fill a large bar glass with ice. Add ingredients. Stir well with a spoon. Strain into a fancy cocktail glass; put in a cherry or medium-size olive (if required) and squeeze a lemon peel on top.

This is Harry Johnson's Martini recipe from his 1888 Bartender's Manual. Johnson and Jerry Thomas were the reigning kings of the original cocktail era, 1850 through 1900. Johnson always believed he held the upper hand, claiming to have published a bar-recipe book prior to Thomas's 1862 volume. If this is true, no copy has ever turned up in my research. Johnson did win the first bartender competition in the history of the modern profession, in New Orleans in 1869, against Ive top contenders. Unfortunately, Thomas wasn't part of the competition, so the debate over who really was the greatest will never be settled.