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National Dry Martini Day

National Dry Martini Day
Julie Hartz/CNN
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 4:04pm

It's five o'clock somewhere. Bottoms up! June 19 is National Dry Martini Day.

Perhaps it's the long-stemmed, wide-mouthed glass, or maybe it's the uncompromising sting of alcohol, but martinis can be intimidating to a novice cocktail drinker. Not to fear - with a little knowledge and a touch of bravery you'll be enjoying this classic tipple before anyone has time to make a bad James Bond joke.

Traditionally martinis are made from gin and vermouth. Yes, you can have a vodka martini too, and they're probably more popular, but gin is the way this all began. When the cocktail was first invented (by whom is unclear, there are semi-serious legal battles over it), it was made with equal parts of gin to vermouth. These days that ratio is more like two parts alcohol to one part vermouth.

Vermouth is a flavored, fortified wine of Italian origin that can either be sweet or dry. As you might have guessed, a dry martini uses dry vermouth but that's not the only way to make a martini dry. The less vermouth in a martini, the dryer it is. So, dry can also refer to the alcohol ratio.

As if that wasn't enough to think about, you could also order your dry martini dirty (with a few drops of olive juice), with a lemon twist, with a cocktail onion (that makes it a Gibson) - the well of possibilities will never run dry. Knowing how you like your martini can be tricky, but luckily, the best way to figure that out is to keep on sipping.

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