According to legend, a bartender at San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel created the Martinez for a local gold miner who struck it rich and demanded a drink in celebration. The bartender acceded, stirring up a variation on a Manhattan with Old Tom gin in place of the usual whiskey and the added twist of maraschino liqueur. An iteration of the cocktail was first published in O.H. Byron’s The Modern Bartender in 1884. His recipe called for orange curacao and Angostura bitters, in lieu of today’s more common mix of maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. Another version appeared in the 1887 version of Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide, which looks a lot more like the recipe we use today. It was mixed with maraschino and Boker’s bitters, which were then made with ingredients like cassia, cardamom and bitter orange peel.
The original recipe calls for a two-to-one ratio of sweet vermouth to Old Tom gin, but we switched the ratio in favor of the gin in order to create a drier cocktail. As with many classic cocktails, though, this drink is open to interpretation, depending on your personal tastes. You could try the classic 2:1 ratio of sweet vermouth to Old Tom gin for a sweeter cocktail, or split the vermouth base equally between sweet and dry styles for a Perfect Martinez. However you choose to make it, drinking the Martinez is nearly as satisfying as striking it rich.
Mix it Up
For those with a sweet tooth, try whipping up the original recipe with 2 ounces of sweet vermouth and one ounce of Old Tom Gin.
Recommended Gins: Ransom Old Tom Gin, Greenhook Old Tom Gin, Hayman’s Old Tom
Recommended Vermouths: Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Antica Formula, Cinzano Rosso, Ramazzotti
If you like your Martinis bone dry (aka chilled gin in a glass) be forewarned—this is not the cocktail for you. The Reverse Martini is for lovers of aperitifs, bitter amaros and straight vermouth. A Martini turned on its head, this classic cocktail switches the standard ratio for gin with vermouth. Also known as the "Wet Martini," this cocktail w...