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  • Writer's pictureThe Gin Professors

The Martinez

The Martinez is a classic cocktail that is neither a Manhattan nor a Martini. The Martinez has a flavor profile closer to a Manhattan than a Martini, though the cocktail's name suggests a relationship closer to a Martini. The origins of the Martinez and Martini are often intertwined, with historians, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts describing the Martinez as the direct precursor to the Martini. Whether that’s true is up for historical debate.

The Martini debuted in 1888, with recipes in Harry Johnson’s updated Bartender's Manual and Theodore Proulx's Bartender’s Manual. As noted by Robert Simonson in The Martini Cocktail, Proulx’s recipe called for "half Tom gin and half vermouth." Tom was a reference to Old Tom gin, which was prevalent at the time, and the vermouth was likely a sweet Italian vermouth. Johnson’s Martini was even sweeter than Proulx's, with ingredients that included bitters, curacao, and gum syrup.

Gin Professors The Martinez

The Martinez predates the Martini by four years, appearing in an 1884 drink guide by O.H. Bryon. The recipe reads: "Same as Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky."

Jerry Thomas, included a recipe for the Martinez in the 1887 edition of his Bar-Tender's Guide, which calls for Old Tom gin vermouth, two dashes of maraschino liqueur, and a dash of bitters.

Thomas is often credited as creating the Martinez at the Occidental Hotel. The other origin story attributes the cocktails creation to a bartender in Martinez, California. Neither story, though, can be historically verified, leaving us with conjecture about the Martinez’s origins and its influence on the evolution of the Martini.

Nevertheless, the Martinez is a classic cocktail that has inspired other drinks and is worthy of a spot in your bar's gin repertoire.

Ingredients 1 ½ oz Old Tom gin 1 ½ oz sweet vermouth ½ teaspoon maraschino liqueur 2 dashes bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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