The Comeback Of The Martini on The Rocks

There’s nothing quite as perfect of that first sip of a freshly poured martini, with frosted glass and a bracing booziness. But as the drink sits, it warms up, eventually, leaving a glass of luke-warm gin.

Katana Kitten Martini
Katana Kitten Martini

Recently, I wrote about Katana Kitten’s stellar martini. It comes nestled in a box of ice, keeping the martini chilled to the last sip. Which got me thinking: why don’t we ice our martinis?

Many would consider it sacrilegious—a bastardization of the classic drink.

But martinis are already a drink that requires personalization. Sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, Old Tom gin, dry gin. Dirty, twist: the only thing they seem to share is served in a coupe or a Martini glass.

In the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, people got wind of the martini on the rocks. Brands started sharing the recipes that make their gin or vodka the best ‘martini-on-the-rocks’. Seagram’s rolled out a full marketing campaign saying the martini on the rock,  “does not happen by chance, but by dint of skill and perseverance.”

Ketel One Martini On The Rocks

But somehow, the trend died. While ordering a Manhattan or Negroni “up” or “on the rocks” is normal these days, Martinis on the rocks aren’t as commonplace.

Why ice?

Ice keeps things cold for longer—far longer than an average martini served straight up. The rebuttal to this would be, well, it gets diluted. And it does, but doesn’t an Old Fashioned, or any other iced cocktail?

Plus, a martini on the rocks requires no shaking and no stirring. For home bartenders (which is everyone, given the unfolding of 2020) there are no cocktail shakers, bar spoons, or strainers to clean. An effortless operation!

So if you need me as we move into Election Season, I’ll be drinking a Martini on the rocks.

Be sure to read about last weeks martiniThe Espresso Martini

Kate Dingwall
Kate Dingwall
Kate Dingwall is a writer and editor, primarily covering the spirits and travel world. Her work has appeared in, Wine Enthusiast,, MAXIM Magazine, DuJour Magazine, Eater, VinePair, Culture Trip, Canada's 100 Best Restaurants, and a number of other publications, online and print. Outside of writing, she is a sommelier and an avid martini drinker.

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