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Martinez

A brief history and recipe.

Published: 17th June 2021

Martinez – a brief history

The forefather of the Martini, the Martinez’s true origins have been lost over time but there are two stories that associate the Martinez to one of the first recognisable bartenders, Jerry Thomas at the Occidental Hotel. Jeremiah “Jerry” P. Thomas operated and owned bars across New York City, opening his first establishment around 1851. Jerry, born in October 1830, had previously worked at bars in New Haven Connecticut before moving to California where her worked as a bartender and a gold prospector during the California Gold Rush.

A few years after opening his first bar in New York, Jerry left and travelled for several years around America, working at various bars and hotels, refining his bar craft and even touring Europe. Jerry developed theatrical techniques for mixing cocktails and juggling bottles… his showmanship and ability to entertain whilst mixing drinks helped establish the idea of the bartender as more than just someone making drinks to order. He established and elevated the art of mixology, eventually completing and publishing his first book in 1862, The Bar-Tender’s Guide (alternately titled How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion), the first exclusive drinks book published in the United States.

The 1884 drink guide by O.H. Byron listed a Martinez cocktail; officially the first time the Martinez name was mentioned and gave the instructions, “Same as Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky.” The recipe used Angostura bitters, orange curaçao, gin (which would have most likely been Genever or Old Tom Gin) and vermouth.

However, the 1887 edition of The Bar-Tender’s Guide also makes mention of the Martinez, but two years after Jerry’s death. Where the addition of the Martinez came from in this book remains open to speculation but most likely was added as the drink’s reputation began to finds its way onto drinks menus across America. The 1887 Bar-Tender’s Guide recipe suggested a measure of Old Tom Gin, vermouth, two dashes of Maraschino and a dash of Bokers Bitters, ice and a slice of lemon to garnish.

Over the years, more variations have popped up as bartenders and mixologists put their own riff on the Martinez, including the idea that the cocktail slowly evolved from a Manhattan, to the Martinez before morphing into the Martini. When you look at the timeline for ingredients, including the emergence of European vermouths in America, along with other ingredients, the logical evolution of the Martinez is easy to see.

As a cocktail, the Martinez could be described as a sweeter Martini. It retains its legs of gin and vermouth but with the addition of Angostura bitters and Maraschino liqueur, both adding an extra layer of depth and complexity, emboldening the gin and vermouth, along with an orange twist, which helps lift some of the citrus and aromatic notes in the drink. The use of London Dry, Old Tom or Navy Strength all impact the final drink but that’s part of the Martinez’s on-going popularity and heritage; the ability to experiment and develop a Martinez recipe that works for you.

Read a brief history of the Martini, said to have evolved from the Martinez, here.

Recipe

Ingredients

Garnish

A twist of orange

Method

Stir all the ingredients over ice until well chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.

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