Celebrate 160 years of Martini, the iconic aperitivo

We mark 160 years of Martini & Rossi, creator of the original Martini Rosso vermouth, a perfect blend of fragrant botanicals and sweet wines

160 years of Martini & Rossi: bottle of Martini Rosso and two cocktails
Martini and Rossi Mitro Negroni
(Image credit: Courtesy of Martini and Rossi)

Dry or dirty, shaken or stirred? Regardless of the choice you make, the iconic Martini promises a decadent time, tingling with possibilities to suit your personal taste. Now, on its 160th anniversary, the classic Martini stays true to its original components, while also welcoming additional flavours, such as a touch of orange or a dash of gin, to produce a unique drinking creation.

Martini was born when herbs and botanicals were married with finely selected wine to create a vermouth, the perfect aperitivo and the foundational base for many beloved cocktails.

160 years of Martini & Rossi

Martini Rosso bottles lined up, marking 160 years of Martini & Rossi

Martini Rosso bottle evolution, 1863 to today

(Image credit: Courtesy of Martini and Rossi)

Much like this partnership, entrepreneur Alessandro Martini and master herbalist Luigi Rossi – founders of Martini & Rossi, the brand behind the drink – made an unlikely duo when they took over the National Wine & Spirits Distillery in the village of Pessione near Turin, stirring up creative genius within the beverage industry to create Martini Rosso, the first iteration of Martini, back in 1863.

Archive image of Martini production plant

Martini production plant in Pessione, 1920s

(Image credit: Courtesy of Martini and Rossi)

The village was ideally located, according to Martini & Rossi; 'within reach of the winemakers of Piedmont, the botanical-rich foothills of the Alps, the vermouth trade of Turin and the port of Genoa.'

Although Martini & Rossi has graciously welcomed the glamorous image and celebrity endorsement that its product has garnered over the years, the company has remained firmly rooted within the Italian foothills, becoming a magnet for the world's best mixologists and wine connoisseurs, while also developing a community programme to support local people.

Sophia Loren with a microphone

Sophia Loren at Terrazza Martini 1984

(Image credit: Courtesy of Martini and Rossi)

The brand has become so iconic that even fictionalised characters have created their own cocktail preferences that have become classic. James Bond’s ‘shaken not stirred’ quote, from the 1953 novel Casino Royale, applies to what the character dubbed the Vesper Martini. Of course, the Martini wasn’t exclusively for made-up spies, but also enjoyed by Sophia Loren, Winston Churchill, and Sean Connery – off Bond duty.

Martini Spumanti graphic poster

Poster from the 1930s

(Image credit: Courtesy of Martini and Rossi)

Martini & Rossi’s vermouth is created with crisp white wines including Trebbiano of Emilia Romagna and Cataratto of Sicily, blended with a crafted combination of aromatic fruit, spices and herbs picked from local fields. Not limited to vermouth, the company also produces delicately balanced Prosecco, as well as non-alcoholic options.

To celebrate 160 years of Martini, we recommend a Bergamot Americano or a classic Negroni to tantalise the taste buds and warm those winter nights.


Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.