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The Martinez cocktail emerges as a bridge between two iconic cocktails—the robust Manhattan and the suave Martini. Its equal parts composition, combining gin with sweet vermouth, sets it apart from its counterparts. The inclusion of maraschino liqueur and bitters introduces a nuanced complexity that elevates the Martinez to a level of sophistication that is both intriguing and delightful.
The origins of the Martinez cocktail trace back to the late 19th century, an era when the art of mixology was burgeoning. The first known published recipe for the Martinez appears in the 1884 book “The Modern Bartenders’ Guide” by O.H. Byron. In a simple yet defining statement, Byron notes, “Same as Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky” This early mention establishes the Martinez as a distinct variation, a gin-infused echo of the classic Manhattan.
What makes the Martinez truly distinctive is the careful balance of its key components. The choice of gin and sweet vermouth becomes paramount, as their characteristics will shape the final profile of the cocktail. Whether opting for a London Dry or a contemporary craft gin, the botanicals must be selected with care to complement the sweetness of the vermouth.
Sweet vermouth, with its herbal and spiced notes, adds depth to the Martinez. The choice between a classic Italian vermouth or a more modern variant allows mixologists to tailor the cocktail to their preference, creating a bespoke experience for each imbiber.
Maraschino liqueur, derived from Marasca cherries, brings a subtle sweetness and a nuanced cherry flavor to the cocktail. A mere dash can transform the cocktail, adding a layer of complexity that elevates its taste.
Bitters, the final flourish in the Martinez symphony, come in various forms, each imparting its unique aromatic fingerprint. Whether opting for the classic Angostura or experimenting with exotic bitters, the careful addition of this element ties the cocktail together, leaving a lingering and memorable finish.
45 ml gin
45 ml sweet vermouth
7.5 ml maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: orange twist
Add the gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Angostura bitters into a mixing glass.
Add ice and stir for 10-15 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into a coupe or martini glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.