The 9-Bottle Bar Recipe: The Martinez Cocktail

The 9-Bottle Bar Recipe: The Martinez Cocktail

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Roger Kamholz
Sep 5, 2014
(Image credit: Roger Kamholz)

This combination of gin, sweet vermouth, bitters, and maraschino liqueur makes for a complex, brooding libation that scratches the itch for a Manhattan. But instead of foregrounding woody, vanilla notes from whiskey, the use of gin in the Martinez turns up the volume on the herbal aromatics.

(Image credit: Roger Kamholz)

Far more astute and knowledgeable writers than this one have done a superb job delving into the history of the Martinez. In brief, the Martinez — probably minted sometime around the 1880s — represents a connecting point between older, boozy-sweet drinks like the Manhattan and newer, boozy-dry drinks like the Dry Gin Martini along the timeline of American cocktail tastes. But since all that historical detail has been thoroughly chronicled by others, here we'll focus simply on the Martinez itself.

For all its versatility, the 9-Bottle Bar of course presents limitations. (After all, we're working with just nine bottles!) Our chosen arsenal of spirits, liqueurs, vermouths, and bitters comes darn close to making a historically accurate Martinez, save for the gin. The original version includes malty, slightly sweet Old Tom gin (elaborated on here), but for the sake of greater utility, the 9-Bottle Bar favors London Dry in the gin department. If you have a bottle of Old Tom around, by all means use that; if your gin on hand is London Dry, you can still make a tasty Martinez, albeit just a touch drier in style.

The Martinez Cocktail

Serves 1

2 ounces gin (preferably Old Tom, but London Dry works well, too)
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
Cocktail cherries

Combine all the ingredients but the cherries to a mixing glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes and stir for about 30 seconds. Strain contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherries.

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