The US has given us more varieties of cocktails than you can shake a swizzle stick at. But for purely selfish reasons the martini, now back in fashion, is my favourite. A martini cuts to the quick. No stupid little umbrellas; no fruit syrups in outlandish colours.I discovered the martini when I lived in Manhattan and fell in love with Grand Central Station. I’d mosey down to the Oyster Bar and watch businesspeople on their way home take a detour for some oysters — and that perfect martini.The martini became the darling of the in-crowd during Prohibition in the US, between 1920 and 1933. With fashion often being born of necessity — and because gin was easier to make than whiskey — bathtub gin became the order of the day.Roman Slepica, owner of Blind Tiger, an eatery and bar for grownups in Parkview, Joburg, learnt his craft in San Francisco. He says: "The drink is seemingly simple but can go so wrong, too. Always keep in mind that the less vermouth, the drier the martini."Aficionados...

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