Trying to find the etymology of martini is like a cocktail: a lot of things go into it. The word was first used by itself in 1891, from the full name of Martini cocktail, which was coined in 1886. There are two theories proposed by etymologists and mixologists as to its origins. One is that the drink may or may not have been invented in Martinez, California. In any case, it certainly was created in the area, but does the word derive from the town name? The other proposition is that the term hails from the name of a company that makes the ingredient drink vermouth, Martini e Rossi. They certainly are closely associated with the brand today, but it's not one hundred percent certain that their name is the etymon. Lately, there has been a fad of using the suffix -tini to describe drinks served in a stereotypical martini glass (for example, appletini or mochatini) as the word has become more and more ingrained in popular culture.
Adam Aleksic is a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.