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The US Marine Corps Martini

(Shared recipe submitted by Fred Fenlon.)

Fred writes: "This Martini recipe has been around since I was commissioned over 50 years ago in Quantico, VA. This recipe has traveled all over the globe several times over. As you know, the Martini is having a tremendous rebirth. Some of the concoctions that are being produced today are really not Martini's. This one is the real McCoy!"

The US Marine Corps was founded in Philadelphia, on November 10, 1775, in a tavern during the American Revolutionary War. The name of the tavern was, 'Tun Tavern'. There is an exact replica of Tun Tavern at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. It was at Quantico in Tun Tavern that the US Marine Corps Martini was born over 50 years ago. Is it a killer martini? More on that later. It is sometimes referred to as the 5,4,3,2,1 Martini.

You will need a glass container that will hold 2-1/2 to 3 cups of liquid, the mouth of which is wide enough to accept ice cubes.


Place all 5 ingredients in the glass container and place it in the freezer of your refrigerator for at least three hours. The one part water should freeze and crystallize in the drink. Also place your cocktail glasses in the freezer, with or without rocks, as is your custom.

Serve the martini, as is your custom, with olives or a twist. Or serve with pickled onions, changing it from a Martini to a, 'Gibson'. Serve with an olive and an onion, and you have a 'Gibtini'.

Notes: Lots of folks figure that because these are US Marine Corps Martini's they must be wildly strong. This is not at all the case. Most professional bar tenders serve a Martini in which the ratio is four (or five) parts gin to one part vermouth. The vermouth is itself 16% to 18% alcohol. The Marine Corps Martini is indeed much milder. There are nine parts liquor to five parts dry sherry and water. This is a martini in which the liquor ratio is 1.8 to one. Not only is the mixture half as strong as the normal martini, the one part water and three ice cubes further reduces the alcohol content. These are not Marine Corps killer martinis. However, we are not without problems. The problem is that these martinis are so smooth, one tends to drink them too fast and drink too many. To your health and good cheer! One or two are enough---and beyond that be sure to name your designated driver!!

Additional Note: It is sad to say that Tun Tavern in Philadelphia got in the way of a super highway and it was disassembled and is currently in warehouse storage. Funds are being gathered to have Tun Tavern restored in the City of Brotherly Love.

About Fred: I have really enjoyed reading Fred's recipes. They are well written and his instructions very thorough. Fred's e-mail address is

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