Martinez Cocktail

By Robert Hess

The Martinez cocktail is a precursor to the Martini and also directly related to the Manhattan. Its abundant use of sweet vermouth decreases the amount of alcohol in the cocktail overall but maximizes flavor. With the addition of Maraschino liqueur, even in a small measure, makes for a delightfully complex cocktail worthy of investigation. For a side by side comparison, mix up a Martinez a Martini and a Manhattan and sip them with your friends.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 oz Plymouth Gin

2 oz sweet vermouth

dash orange bitters

1/8 oz Maraschino liqueur

Instructions

Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Comments
matthewstiles 5 Jan 2011
7:05 am

just for those who, like me prefer not to eyeball measurements 1/8 oz is equivalent to 3/4 teaspoons. Simplest to use a 1/4tsp and a 1/2tsp measure.

Empeg9000 6 Jan 2011
12:34 pm

Great site and great book. Thanks for all the videos. Wasn’t this drink originally made with old tom gin? I thought that was kind of what made it a bit different from a modern martini but I could be wrong.

Robert Hess 6 Jan 2011
1:41 pm

Some of the old/original recipes for the Martinez will specifically call for “Old Tom” gin. So if you happen to have some lying around, feel free to use it! Just exactly what “Old Tom” gin tasted like back in those days is a bit of a debateable subject. It might be easy to simply say it was “sweetened gin”, but that isn’t necessarily so. It is believed that while some may have been sweetened (most likely to cover up poor distillation), that isn’t necessarily the case for all of them. Prior to about 1840, all gins would have been pot-distilled, which would have resulted in a “less refined” distillation, since the column still (master of high-proof distilling) didn’t come around until the mid 1830’s. This would have made the early gins have more of a grainy/earthy flavor, and pot distillation in smaller productions would have continued for some time.

Old Tom gin has been unavailable for quite some time, although there are some brands which have recently come onto the market which attempt to harken back to what that gin might have tasted like.

Empeg9000 6 Jan 2011
2:11 pm

I do have some Ransom Old Tom Gin. It is an acquired taste for sure. I bought it specifically to use in the Martinez. I was using a recipe different from yours that wasn’t doing it for me so I will give your recipe a go. What brand of vermouth were you using? I assume that since there is more vermouth than gin this might be a drink that benefits from a better vermouth?

Robert Hess 6 Jan 2011
2:18 pm

Ransom is a pretty good Old Tom. It’s made down in Portland, and David Wondrich helped them get a formulation that might be similar to how it would have been done in the day.

I believe I used Martini & Rossi sweet here. You clearly want to make sure you use a sweet vermouth that you like on it’s own for this one.

The Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino, Orange Bitters combo is one that should work well. If you don’t think it’s quite hitting it for you, then play around with the ratios a little until you discover one that clicks.

-Robert

Chris W 10 Jan 2011
10:25 am

I used Carpano Antica for the sweet vermouth and it worked great, however, I decreased the Sw. Vermouth to 1 3/4 and the used Hayman’s Old Tom (1 1/2) to offset the spice of that particular vermouth.  Fantastic drink Robert

Leo 12 Jan 2011
4:02 pm

I’d love to find a cocktail pitcher like the one you use in this video. Is it vintage or do you know where I could find one? Thanks!

- Leo

Robert Hess 13 Jan 2011
4:56 am

Leo, the mixing glass I’m using came from CocktailKingdom.com, you can find it here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/content/yarai-mixing-glass
-Robert

zach 6 Mar 2011
9:21 am

Hey Robert - I know in the past you have mentioned Noilly Prat as one of your recommended dry vermouths and here I see you using M&R sweet vermouth…is this a well recommended brand or are there others you might suggest as well?  Also I’m curious of your impressions of Bittercube bitters - http://www.bittercube.com/bitters.html - if you have used them at all.  Thanks for all the great info/content-

Zach

Robert Hess 6 Mar 2011
12:16 pm

Zach, yes M&R is usually my go-to sweet vermouth. Carpano Antiqua is fabulous, but far more expensive and harder to find. Dolin, also makes an excellent line of vermouths. I haven’t used Bittercube bitters yet, so I can’t really comment on them.
-Robert

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