Commonly referred to as the predecessor to the Martini, the Martinez cocktail was originally made with Old Tom gin. Our modern version uses a spiced or winter style gin.
The history of the Martinez cocktail is often the subject of debate with some claiming that the cocktail was invented in the town of Martinez, California during the Gold Rush in the 1850s.
The Martinez first appeared in O.H. Byron’s The Modern Bartender published in 1884 with no recipe listed, only the words “Same as Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky” (ref). To add to the confusion, he lists two versions of the Manhattan cocktail.
Several variations of the Martinez exist in classic and modern cocktail books. Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide 1887 Reprint has the Martinez as 1 dash of Boker’s Bitters, 2 dashes of Maraschino, 1 pony of Old Tim gin, 1 wineglass of vermouth, 2 small lumps of ice and if the guest prefers it very sweet, 2 dashes of gum syrup. The cocktail is not included in the earlier 1862 reprint.
The Savoy Cocktail Book specifies (for 6 people), 3 glasses of gin, 3 of French vermouth, a dessert spoon of orange bitters, 2 dessert spoons of curacao or Maraschino, shaken and strained. Mr Boston Official Bartender’s Guide offers a modern day version with 1 ½ oz Old Tom gin, 15 sweet vermouth 1 tsp maraschino liqueur, 1 dash orange bitters.
Our version of the Martinez favours a spiced or winter style gin and a combination of sweet and dry vermouths which is more suited to modern taste.
Martinez Cocktail Recipe
A modern interpretation by Cocktails & Bars
- 45 ml gin (preferably a spiced gin or winter style gin)
- 20 ml sweet vermouth
- 10 ml dry vermouth
- 5 ml maraschino liqueur
- 1 dash orange bitters
Glassware: coupette or martini glass
Garnish: expressed orange peel
Add all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupette or Martini glass. Cut a coin sized orange peel, express over the drink and discard.
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