The combination of three gentleman became the catalyst for Martini (or Martini, Sola e C.ia as it was then called). Alessandro Martini was a gifted salesman, Teofilo Sola the accountant and Luigi Rossi the wine, herbalist and liqueur expert. Luigi utilised his experience and encouraged the team to locate to Pessione, Italy. Here, the chances of riding on the trend of vermouth were maximised, with the hills being the source of some of the best grapes and herbs around, as well as close to the Turin-Genoa railway (four years later, it negotiated with Northern Italy Railways to build a private railway track inside the plant, connecting them directly to the royal station of Pessione). 1865 saw there efforts rewarded, winning a medal for ‘Excellent Quality of Liqueurs’ at the prestigious Dublin International Expo Awards. Wanting to expand on this, and seeing no reason as to stop with border line of Ireland, they adorned each label with the Dublin medal and diploma iconographies, sharing the success with all consumers and suppliers further afield. With this came many more entries to competitions, signalling their intent to make Martini, known to the world. 1879 became a sad yet turning year, with the passing of Teofilo Sola. In response, Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rosso, determined to uphold his memory, changed its trading name ‘Martini & Rosso’. In 1903, Luigi Rossi’s brothers, Teofilo and Cesare, welcomed their younger brothers, Enrico and Ernesto, into the Martini & Rosso fold, spreading the family name to branches around the world. Two years later, Alessandro Martini passed away. 1935 saw cousins Metello, Theo, Lando, and Napoleone become the third generation of Martini management and they threw themselves into sport, art, industry and society. Metello and Theo supported international sporting competitions, Lando’s art collection filled the Museum of Oenological History and Napoleone embraced new production techniques and welfare reform. In 1987, Martini had enlisted Bacardi to distribute within America, and six years later joined forces to create a production, commercial and distribution network, now seen as one of the world’s largest premium spirits company.
China Martini is made from cinchona bark and apparently rice alcohol (though we have no way of confirming that), and its a kind of bitters (we guess) which tastes and feels a bit like Jagermeister – very sweet dark and rich. Cinchona bark it turns out is loaded with quinine – and the bark was used in many cases to help cure malaria (or its symptoms?).
Made from the bark of the China Calissaia , a tree originating high in the Andes mountains. From the 8th century, This has been a fine digestive liqueur since the 8th Centiry and was produced in China based on an infusion made of this bark and rice alcohol.