When asked about classic cocktails, there are some such as the Manhattan or the Negroni that automatically come to mind. But have you ever heard of the Martinez? For those into the cocktail world and its history, it might sound familiar. But unfortunately there is some lack of awareness around this magnificent cocktail which also uses vermouth as one of its key ingredients. Today, we want to contribute to the end of this situation.
As pointed out by Brett Moskowitz in his article “The Martinez: The classic cocktail that’s not a Manhattan or a Martini” the Martinez seems to be an evolutionary missing link between the classic Manhattan and the Martini. Said so, we need to ask ourselves: when was this cocktail first mentioned and its recipe described?
Same as with many classic cocktails dating back to the 1800s, there is no evidence about who invented the recipe or where it originated. Nevertheless, two locations seem sound to more plausible to have been the original place where the Martinez was created and first served: the city of Martinez in the Bay Area and the Knickerbocker hotel in New York.
The Knickerbocker hotel, New York (Source)
Although it is not clear which of these places is actually the birthplace of the Martinez, what is no questionable is the first printed mention of the cocktail. In fact, O. H. Byron mentioned this cocktail in 1884 in his cocktail book “Modern Bartender’s Guide” where Curaçao and Angostura bitters where called among the ingredients. We also find a different version of the recipe in Jerry Thomas’ book with Boker’s bitters and maraschino liqueur.
The reason why no more people know about this cocktail, but they do know about other more common classic cocktails, is also not clear. It might precisely be because of its resemblance to these other cocktails. Or because brands such as Campari promoted other cocktails that called for their bitter, while vermouth brands didn’t do this effort. Regardless of the reason, the revival of vermouth has brought this prize jewel to surface again.
Martinez cocktail (Source)
Do you want to know how to prepare your very own Martinez? Follow the instructions provided by Liquor.com and taste this great classic cocktail at home (or go to your favorite bar, if you prefer, we won’t blame you!)
- 45 ml gin
- 45 ml Sweet vermouth
- 7,5 ml Maraschino Liqueur
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist and serve.
Now that you are an expert about the Martinez, there are three things you should remember about this drink:
- Martinez is a classic cocktail, although it is less commonly known out of the cocktail world.
- It was first described by O. H. Byron in 1884 in his cocktail book “Modern Bartender’s Guide” and also Jerry Thomas has his recipe.
- It calls for an important part of vermouth for its preparation, making it one of the key ingredients for a perfect Martinez.
Never tasted it before? Then we encourage you to go for it the next time you go out for a drink with your friends, or alone. You’ll be able to tell “I was at the bar with Martinez”.
My name is Jorge Ferrer, I am a spirits and cocktails lover and a vermouth enthusiast. I earned my MsC in
Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I hold a Junior Brand Manager position in Brown-Forman. I am planning to market my own vermouth, feel free to reach out or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/jorgeferrer191/ or @jorge_chinaski