Why The Martini is the Greatest Drink Ever Poured

Martini photo by Spirita
You're welcome, America

You, sir, want a martini. Not some cutesy cocktail with four kinds of flavored vodka. No, what you want is a martini, see? Because there's not enough wine in this gin, is why. Yeah, you want a martini -- the only thing God and Satan ever agreed on. It's a beautiful drink, clear and clean and cold and, in fact, I'm sipping one or four right now. Invented the day some genius turned to his enabler and said, "I shouldn't have to stop drinking to enjoy an olive." He later died of cirrhosis, but the point remains: Martinis!

And you'll save a fortune in embalming.

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It's the drink of our forefathers: men with briefcases who really did read Playboy for the articles; men who never had five o'clock shadows because their beards cowered in fear of them; men who only smoked cigarettes to give cancer a fighting chance. These guys punched each other in the face as a greeting. If you lost consciousness, you were a lousy beatnik. Under their watch, the queen of cocktails flourished until the socially conscious '60s opened people's eyes. Gin makes a man mean -- but for best results, let him see what's really going on.

Mother didn't drink martinis at parties. Father wouldn't permit it after the abortion.

Now that the dirty hippies are dying and no one wants to acknowledge the country's doom, martinis are back in a big way. It's the perfect drink for unwinding at the end of the day or lunch or every waking moment you're trying to hold it together because she's never coming back. ... Jesus Christ.

They had olives. They had wine. You can't say for certain He didn't invent the martini.

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There are two schools of thought about martinis. One says they should be stirred, and the other doesn't know how to drive a stick. The difference is something called class.

You'll know it when you don't see it.

Class is dignity in a room full of Ed Hardy. Class is that little voice in your head that says, "Look your wife's sister in the eye when you make love to her." Class knows the spot on a woman's neck to drive her wild, and the spot on a man's neck to knock him unconscious. Curiously, both leave hickeys. Don't question it. That wouldn't be classy.

We'll buy the rights to 007 for a sawbuck
A steady gun hand is the only acceptable reason to water down a martini by shaking.

When you get drunk, that's sleazy. But when you're drunk on a martini, that's class. And when you're drinking martinis to silence your dark thoughts, enjoy your breakfast!

A good starting point is some bureaucrat mowing your lawn while you're hard at work.

Mix 4 parts gin over 1 part vermouth in a glass of ice, then strain it like a dying relationship. Pour into a cocktail glass shaped like the breast of the woman you love, and cold like her eyes on the day she left. Add an olive or, if you must, a twist of lemon because you're a bad person. No classier method of obliterating your consciousness may be had. Enjoy!
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There are a number of impostor martinis running around out there. Certainly, vodka makes an orthodox martini. It's just gin minus ginliness. But chocolate liqueur? What are you, boozing at a Dunkin' Donuts? Here are some quick tips to identify whether your cocktail is merely trying to surf the martini's success:
  • It's anything other than a mixture of vermouth with gin or vodka.

Tuxedos help, but they're not everything when it comes to class.

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The return of the fedora and corruption in the early aughts heralded the martini's big comeback; smooth like a lady and bitter like a man. Some people credit Mad Men for the surge in nostalgia that revitalized drunken rage as a legitimate business strategy -- but the whole point of Mad Men is its facade. The characters don't drink at work for fun, like priests or bus drivers do. They drink to slough the pressure of their masks in a society built on terrible values such as sexism, racism and laughing at Jerry Lewis.

Don Draper monsters through life like Fortune owes him a goodnight kiss.

I'd rather live in the era when women can brag about their sex lives. Not with me, obviously -- my injuries prevent me from romancing all but the most microwaved cantaloupes*-- but within my hearing so I know there's happiness in the world beyond chilled vermouth, good dogs, great steak and the relief of an early death.
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*or Aisha Tyler, because good lord, that woman could give the sea an erection. The truth is that there were no good old days, and people who pine for some usually have one eye closed. There were only the earlier days: some good, some bad and both blessedly hard to remember through the misty glass of the martini.

Hello, Dali!
The little hand is on "Now" and the big hand is on "Martini."

Good memories persist because they're worth the effort. For the same reason, I elect to carry a classic martini in one clenched fist as I slog through the swamp of humanity. And you should, too. Lo, though the heavens themselves fall down upon your head, you will have a martini. Not for nostalgia. Not to heal the day. Not even for class itself. You drink it because you're a man and you want one. And when you get it, brother, that's a good martini.

Martinis are good to the last drop, whereas memories are good till you get dropped.

Brendan McGinley writes manly comics and knows a few secrets about Don Draper.

And be sure to check out Brendan's views on Love. Or learn other ways to get blitzed with The World's 5 Worst Ways To Get Drunk.

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