What’s in a martini? These days, just about anything.

Consider the paradoxical thought experiment known as The Ship of Theseus: If the Athenians removed and replaced every plank of Theseus’ ship so that none of the original wood would remain, would the Ship of Theseus still be? Or will it become a completely different ship?

Instead, take Dirty Martini: gin, wine, olive brine and hors d’oeuvres. But replace the traditional dry gin with a mirapoix-washed one. Use Manzanilla sherry in place of vermouth, a solution of chicken stock and MSG in place of the brine, and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil. Is a martini still dirty?

Gaston Rodriguez, creator of what he calls Chicken Martini Soup, he thinks so. said Mr. Rodriguez, who co-wrote the blog Very good drinks. His invention has attracted more than 600,000 views across Instagram and TikTok.

The cocktail has many detractors. (“It’s never too late to delete this,” someone wrote.) Then again, Mr. Rodriguez said, “There were people like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never wanted a drink more than this. ‘” “”

Internet trends can be fleeting and just hypothetical, but the odd martini is out there in the real world, served at real bars to real, paying customers. In New York City, caprese drinkers can martini infused with basil and dotted with balsamic in Jack on Bondoysters mignonette martini in Marsmartini in horseradish water Naru and a squid ink martini at American Express’s new Centurion Lounge.

in Este In austin, texas, you can order a martini made with muscade wine and kombu seaweed, and Dear Madison In Chicago he serves a version with habanero mezcal and lime juice. One of seven options on the martini menu at Dante Beverly Hills In Los Angeles that includes tequila and creme de cacao.

“Martinis are very hot right now,” said Brian Schneider, creative director at the Manhattan restaurant. Bad Roman. To tap into the current fascination with deliciously sweet cocktails, he developed one with an Italian American edge: the pepperoncini martini. When diners come in, he says, “It’s one of the top things people post about.”

Ryan Dolliver, Director of Beverages palmetto In Brooklyn, eating a martini with pickled fennel and yuzu is a must. “It’s basically a scrumptious, cold or vodka cocktail, but for the sake of shorthand, we call it a dirty martini,” Mr. Dolliver said.

This isn’t a new phenomenon: Although the term is of recent coinage, the essence of a dirty martini—adding an olive liqueur to the classic cocktail— Back At the beginning of the twentieth century. Only a few decades later, drinkers began substituting gin for vodka—a practice martini purists still consider bogus.

In the 1980s and 1990s, bars began affixing the “Martini” label to any drink served directly (shaken or stirred with ice, but served without it) in a V-shaped glass: the espresso martini, perhaps the most famous example, was Created in London in the early eighties.

“We adapt our attitudes about what these things are to what customers think,” Mr. Dolliver added.

Trevor Easton Langer, the bar manager who created the caprese martini at Jack on Bond, agreed. “The word martini is not so much a hard rule as it is a description of how you get the drink. It’s not so much about the contents as it is about the glass.”

Not to mention the mystery. “There’s a suggestion of elegance, there’s a party to ordering one,” said Alan Sietsma, food editor for New York Magazine. Martini classics who sampled “Too Much” for the magazine’s “Absolute Best” series. “People want things that are understandably classic.”

When creating something new, Mr. Sietsma said, “You can either play with the ingredients, or you can play with the form. But when you start to really drift into these wild flavor combinations, and whatever shape you make doesn’t immediately make sense to people, you’ve lost a thread.”

Cheryl Hefner, Managing Director, Inc Superity Burger The New Yorker, whose cocktail menu describes her as “aggressively classic,” suspects that the martini-obsessed accessory wasn’t born of creativity, but of competition.

In a city with more than 20,000 restaurants, “it’s becoming increasingly difficult not only to stay connected, but to survive,” Hefner said. She believes the drive to build an edgy take on the classics, “driven by the drive to get creative and come up with the next best thing to use on TikTok, or whatever.”

As a result, we were left with a martini or a poifre (at Le Roque, in Rockefeller Center), washed down with sushi rice (Albert Bardowntown) or garnished with a ball of mozzarella (Little Nedat NoMad).

And just as there is no correct answer to the riddle of Theseus’ ship, there is probably no question of what qualifies as a martini.

But there’s one thing most bartenders agree on: “Probably the juice is a bit too far,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “If there was juice in it, I would be inclined to call it something else.”