The lore of cocktails is rich and filled with many contradictions. The challenge is that with any lore, there is a fine line between verifiable truth and entertaining story. Cocktail lore is no different.
For many, the Martinez Cocktail is the precursor to the ubiquitous Martini. Seems plausible, given the name and ingredient list, and yet there is a camp (including yours truly) that holds fast to the Hoffman House as the parent of the Martini.
After crafting a few versions of the Martinez, I am actually able to see the evolution of the Martini from this classic tipple.
Both have Gin as their primary spirit. The Martinez leverages Sweet Vermouth, whereas the Martini employs the bracing character of Dry Vermouth. The Martinez also adds a third ingredient- Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. This nutty, fruity spirit brings a hint of almond skin and hazelnut to the game. In comparison, the two cocktails couldn’t be more different and yet, they share a common bond.
My favorite version of the Martinez Cocktail is thus:
2oz. Old Tom Gin (I prefer Haymans)
2oz. Sweet Vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi Reserva Speciale Ambrato)
1/2oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake with crushed ice and strain into a coup glass. Garnish with either and orange or lemon slice.