KAJX

April Fulton

April Fulton is a former editor with NPR's Science Desk and a contributor to The Salt, NPR's Food Blog.

A version of this story first ran in March 2014.

The first day of spring is cause for a celebration, especially after the winter many of us have been having. But it's hard to top the 13-day festivities of the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

Nowruz, or "new day" in Persian, is an ancient festival that marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the rebirth of nature. And naturally, it has a lot to do with fresh, green foods just beginning to poke out of the ground that remind us winter is not, in fact, eternal.

There's no cocktail more distinctly American than the martini. It's strong, sophisticated and sexy. It's everything we hope to project while ordering one.

Baltimore-born satirist H.L. Mencken is said to have called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet." But is the martini perfectly American? Maybe not entirely.

So in honor of National Martini Day on Wednesday, we decided to dig into the drink's muddled past.