TikTok Is Only Half Right About The Martini Glass 'Scam'

An iconic cocktail that exudes class and sophistication, the martini signals a discerning drinker in search of an elegant good time. As explained by Difford's Guide, the martini is believed to have descended from a drink known as the Martinez, which has its own roots in the classic Manhattan. The first ever Martinez recipe, which appeared in "The Modern Bartender" in 1884, consisted of gin, sweet vermouth, curacao, and orange-flavored bitters. The beverage evolved over time until it became the popular cocktail known and loved today.

While cocktail trends typically ebb and flow, martinis and all their variations have remained a staple among drinkers. Not only are they tasty, but they also offer tons of aesthetic appeal due in large part to the glasses they're served in. There's nothing classier than hoisting a martini during a toast or languorously sipping one in the middle of a party (à la James Bond). However, some people on TikTok claim that martinis are simply part of a cocktail conspiracy designed to take your money. And like most conspiracy theories, the truth is a lot more complicated.

Getting to the bottom of the martini glass

According to Crate & Barrel, martinis are traditionally served in V-shaped cocktail glasses, which first came onto the scene at the 1925 Paris Exhibition. The careful design of modern martini glasses serves many crucial purposes. For instance, the wide aperture of the glass ensures aromatic elements are noticeable, while the long stem prevents heat from your hands from affecting the temperature of the beverage. As for size, standard martini glasses serve up between 3 and 10 ounces, while oversized glasses hold 6 to 12 ounces of liquid.

Martinis are available in many variations and remain a popular option at numerous bars and nightclubs all over the world. They're also the subject of scrutiny, at least when it comes to discerning drinkers on TikTok. An account going by the name of Magic Moments recently shared a video purporting to show a 'martini scam' enacted by deceptive bartenders. In the clip, a TikTok detective explains how bars routinely underfill martini glasses, to the point where two martinis may be able to fit into the same glass. After repeated attempts at building suspense, the man pours one seemingly full martini into another seemingly full glass, which fills it to the brim. While the trick is impressive from an optical illusion standpoint, it's not the epic 'own' that TikTok is hoping for.

The perils of an over-full martini

The TikTok martini glass debate might seem compelling in theory, but there's a very good reason why most bartenders don't fill the glass to the very top. Per Liquor.com, it's recommended that martini glasses are only filled between 85% to 95% capacity. This accounts for the likely "sloshing and spilling" that can occur as you ferry your glass away from the bar. No one wants most of their lovingly constructed martini to be left on the barroom floor, after all.

Additionally, first-time martini drinkers can also benefit from a few other important tips. According to Complex, martinis are traditionally garnished with an olive or lemon twist, but those aren't your only options. You can also request something like a grapefruit twist, which is a gentler form of citrus to offset the subtle aromas of the beverage. Some people also swap out the classic green olives with black olives, which have a much bolder savory flavor. As for the shaken or stirred debate, consider that shaking the drink increases aeration and facilitates faster cooling. On the other hand, stirring a martini creates a heavier mouthfeel, which offers a more luxurious experience. Finally, don't be afraid to ask the bartender for recommendations if you're not sure how to proceed.