dry gin and dry vermouth (and maybe a dash of orange bitters and/or maybe absinthe)
The most iconic cocktail evolved in 1890s New York with the arrival of the “London dry”-style gins from England and the recognition of their affinity with the dry French vermouth style.
The Dry Martini recipe shown above is from Frank Newman’s 1904 book “American Bar”, and it’s probably the first official Dry Martini recipe in print, although some similar ideas appeared earlier under various other names. You might immediately note that it’s another 50/50 mix of gin and vermouth, like the original sweet Martini, but now with the dry vermouth, and by this point, the newly popular dry English gin. Innumerable Dry Martini recipes would follow, and as the 20th Century wore on, the bitters would largely drop out and the quantity of dry vermouth would dwindle. The basic procedure, highly malleable:
Combine in a mixing glass:
- 1–2 dashes orange bitters (optional)
- 2 oz dry gin
- 1 oz dry vermouth (French)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 442–445; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz