Martinez Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Martinez is one of the classic cocktails and a forerunner of iconic drinks like the Martini.
Martinez cocktail & bartools

The recipe of the Martinez cocktail laid the grounds for many of today's famous cocktails. Amongst them are the first-ever Martini recipes. And also, the later developed Dry Martini is based on the classic Martinez recipe.

But despite its many prominent descendants, the Martinez itself is still a winner on every bar menu. It consists of equal parts Gin and Sweet Vermouth, mixed with Maraschino Liqueur and some drops of cocktail bitters.

If you now feel that the whole story rings a bell, then you are right. Many of today's classic cocktails evolved from even older recipes.

And so it happens that already the Martinez cocktail is one of them: The Gin-based drink is a variation of the Manhattan cocktail.

Ingredients of the Martinez cocktail

The Martinez is an elegant composition of Gin, Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, and cocktail bitters. To make the perfect Martinez cocktail, you need to pick a Gin that suits your palate and pay attention to the other elements, as well.

Best Gin

Jerry Thomas - possibly the inventor of the drink - asks for different types of Gin in his recipe - or recipes to be precise, as he gave four different options.

Two of them are English, which makes sense, considering they were popular at the time. But in the first one, he asks for domestic Gin and seems to refer to Genever. That would indicate that this is the original version.

Either way, today's Gin selection is not comparable to what it was back then. Nowadays, there are so many different kinds of Gin that it's pretty hard to keep track.

Yet, if you want to take a traditional approach to this drink, try Genever. Alternatively, an Old Tom will also work beautifully. It will lead to a sweeter drink compared to using a malty Genever. And it will be less juniper-forward than a classic London Dry Gin. 

Saying that, if you opt for a London Dry Gin for your Martinez cocktail, you will get a drier, more crisp drink. But you can also experiment with more citrus-forward or floral Gins.


For the Vermouth part, Jerry Thomas presumably only used sweet Vermouth in his recipe - it only says Vermouth without further specification.

Yet, I like a combination of sweet and dry Vermouth in my Martinez. It creates a beautiful balance and goes particularly well with the Triple Sec. I don't have a favorite for the dry Vermouth, but for the sweet part, I recommend Antica Formula. 

Maraschino Liqueur

Maraschino Liqueur is a bitter and dry liqueur with a subtle cherry and almond flavor. There's one producer of the real deal - Luxardo, but you can get quality Maraschino from other brands too. The liqueur is made from a particular cherry species - the Marasca cherries. They are only growing on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. 

Cocktail Bitters

Angostura Bitters add the final touch to your drink. If you haven't used them before, you might wonder how a few drops of something can make such a difference.

Bitters are real flavor bombs, and Angostura makes them to perfection. So don't leave them off. They are vital for getting the balance of your drink right.


The classic version of the cocktail uses sweet Vermouth as a component. But more modern interpretations can include a combination of dry and sweet Vermouth (as we do in our recipe) or you can use Curaçao or Cointreau liqueur to replace the sweet Vermouth.

You can also experiment with a Genever base instead of the classic Gin base. This combination works remarkably well, delivers a well-balanced drink, and picks up an early approach of the cocktail.

History of the Martinez Cocktail

The first time the recipe of the Martinez cocktail got published in written form was in 1884. O.H. Byron included the recipe in his "The Modern Bartender's Guide". Yet, he did not include a recommendation on the type of Gin to use. Most likely, it was an Old Tom Gin or a Genever, as both were quite common at the time.

It might be that O.H. Bryon also invented the drink. However, historians suspect that the cocktail is at least a few years older. In fact, there are rumors that legendary Jerry Thomas might have created it.

If that is the case, the birth of the Martinez probably was after 1876, the year Jerry Thomas published his famous book The Bartender's Guide. This first edition didn't include the Martinez, but the reissue almost 10 years later did. After Jerry Thomas died in 1885, an updated version of his book got published. In this and later version of The Bartender's Guide, you can find a recipe for the Martinez cocktail. 

Naturally, that doesn't prove who invented the drink, as it got printed shortly after O.H. Bryon's book. But still. Also, Jerry Thomas' recipe is very close to those served in today's bars.

An indication that Jerry Thomas might indeed be the original creator of the classic Martinez cocktail.

Martinez cocktail & bartools


A boozy yet balanced based on Gin or Genever
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dry vermouth, Genever, Gin, maraschino liqueur, Sweet vermouth
Servings: 1
Calories: 232kcal
Cost: $3.50



  • 2 oz Gin or Genever
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (I prefer Antica Formula )
  • 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  • Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with plenty of ice.
  • Stir until the cocktail is well-chilled and strain into a coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a twisted orange zest.


Serving: 3.75oz | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.8g | Sodium: 2.25mg | Potassium: 2mg | Sugar: 8.8g | Calcium: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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