I was in Paris in April, 2014 assisting with a tour group from North America. We sat in a cafe our first evening in the city and one of the women ordered a martini.
In most parts of the Western world, the next question from your server would likely be:
“Would that be a gin or vodka martini?”
However, no such question came for my charge. Rather, the server took her order and a few moments later a martini glass containing a bright red liquid appeared at the table.
The client took one sip of the liquid and made a face.
“This is not a martini!” she declared and proceeded to send the drink back.
Our server, a bit confused, explained that, yes, this was a martini.
“In France, there are two kinds of martinis,” he shared. “There is the red martini and the white martini. Typically, women prefer the red martini because it is sweeter.”
As it turns out, the brand Martini is more popular in France than the cocktail, hence the sweet vermouth served to us in the cafe.
If ever you find yourself in Paris, here is your guide to ordering martinis:
Martini Rouge = Sweet Vermouth
Martini Blanc = Dry Vermouth
Martini Sec = Dry Martini, cocktail style