The recipe of the Martinez 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 renowned descendants, the Martinez itself is still a winner. 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 with you, then you are right. -Of course, many of today’s classic cocktails are derived from even older recipes. And so it happens that also the Martinez already is a variation of the Manhattan cocktail.
So if you want to know more about when the cocktail first appeared and how you can achieve a perfect Martinez, read on and find out.
History of the Martinez Cocktail
The first time the recipe of the Martinez got published in written form was in 1884. O.H. Byron included the recipe in his “The Modern Bartender’s Guide”. Regrettably, the recipe did not contain 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.
One may be tempted to think that O.H. Bryon also created it. However, experts are confident that the cocktail is at least a few years older. In fact, there are rumors that legendary Jerry Thomas might have invented the drink. If that is the case, the birth of the Martinez must have been after 1876, the year Jerry Thomas published his famous book “The Bartender’s Guide”.
An there is an interesting side fact. After Jerry Thomas died in 1885, an updated version of his book got published. In this version of “The Bartender’s Guide”, a recipe for the Martinez is included. That naturally 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.
Best Gin for the Martinez
Jerry Thomas asked for an Old Tom Gin in his recipe. That makes sense, considering that the London-style Gins were not that popular at this time. But 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.
If you want to take a traditional approach to this drink, try to make it with an Old Tom Gin. It is a rather sweet option and less malty than a Genever. But also less juniper-dominated than a classic London Dry Gin. When using the latter to make a Martinetz, you get a drier, more crisp cocktail.
But you can also experiment with more citrus-forward or floral Gins. Each type, and even the different brands within each category, can create a unique version of the Martinez.
The classic version of the cocktail uses sweet Vermouth as a component. But more modern interpretations can include a combination of dry Vermouth and Curaçao or Cointreau liqueur to replace the sweet Vermouth. Alternatively, you can also mix all those spirits to receive a perfect balance of the different flavors.
You can also experiment with using a Genever base instead of the classic Gin base. This combination works remarkably well and delivers a well-balanced drink.
- 2 oz Gin or Genever
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (I prefer Antica Formula )
- 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
- 0.25 oz Cointreau
- 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.