Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics




1oz Gin

2oz Sweet Vermouth

.25 Luxardo Maraschino

1 dash Angostura bitters

Lemon twist


Add all liquids to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Floral, sweet raisin, and cherry citrus, the Martinez is another great classic cocktail. Sweeter than a martini and much less bitter than a Negroni, the Martinez, holds it’s own with these greats. While less popular, the Martinez is more approachable initially for many cocktail enthusiasts, especially those with palates less appreciative of bitter or drier drinks. No “acquired tastes” here, the Martinez also goes over well with “modern” cocktail folks who like things a little sweeter, while not forcing you to make them some fruity syrup and sugar laden abomination.


The Martinez is actually older than the Martini and many claim that it is the “father” of the Martini, suggesting that the Martini is a variation of the Martinez. While this may be very likely as the two are tied together in many accounts, there are also many other claims about the Martini’s origins (read MARTINI for more discussion).

So where did the Martinez come from and when? Most accounts fall into two similar stories. The first is that it was invented for patrons traveling to the town of Martinez, during the gold rush. Some stick with this story but claim that Jerry Thomas was the bartender who created it for these gold miners. The Jerry Thomas part is debatable as some say that it was not in the original version of How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion (1882), only to appear in a later edition (1887 reprint), which was printed after his death. Further muddying the issue is that between these two editions a book by OH Byron in 1884 called The Modern Bartenders Guide, is said to be the first published version of the Martinez, as a variation of the Manhattan, using gin instead.

The other popular story, especially from the town itself, is that the Martinez was invented in Martinez, CA. Per the city of Martinez, the “Martinez Special” was served at a bar frequented by miners returning to San Francisco. Either way it’s probable that the Martinez was created somewhere around this area, the question is in the details. Something worth pondering over your next Martinez, or maybe just forget about it and enjoy this classic.


Some say Genever was the first spirit used in the Martinez. Give it a shot, makes this one a little heavier in flavor but definitely worth a try. Also check out the NEW MARTINEZ. More to come.

7 Responses to “Martinez”

  1. From A to B | The Straight Up

    […] a bit with The Fixer, originally a “challenge” cocktail, this one favors the Martini/Martinez, using only a few dashes of Elixir Vegetal to add light anise notes. This time it’s all […]


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