The Martini is beautiful in its simplicity. But because it is such a simple cocktail—really just gin or vodka and vermouth—any change in preparation can alter the outcome drastically. Even switching between a lemon twist or an olive garnish can totally transform the drink. In this case, we’re swapping the traditional (sticklers might even say required) dry vermouth for sweet vermouth.
There is no definitive origin story for the Sweet Martini. It resembles another classic, the Martinez, but omits the maraschino liqueur. So it’s possible bartenders who didn’t have the cherry liqueur in stock started making these out of necessity. What is certain is that if you are a dry Martini fan, you are in store for something quite different here.