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Martinez Cocktail

You probably aren’t familiar with the Martinez unless you’re either a cocktail connoisseur or a history buff. But once you try this classic gin drink, you’ll surely be a fan. Read on for the full story and then follow our easy Martinez cocktail recipe and craft one at home in just five minutes.

Martinez Cocktail Next to Colored Tiles

Our journey into lazy mixology has motivated us to craft a myriad of cocktails that we’d previously imbibed at bars. The Martinez was not one of those cocktails.

To be honest, we had never heard of the drink until our sweet obsession with Luxardo maraschino cherries motivated us to buy a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur. The liqueur’s deep flavors piqued our curiosity to find Luxardo-based tipples. It wasn’t long until we read about the Martinez – a cocktail that allegedly inspired the Manhattan and has elements reminiscent of Italy’s Negroni.

It wasn’t much longer until we crafted a Martinez at home in just five minutes, which left us with one question: Why isn’t the Martinez cocktail more popular?

What Is the Martinez Cocktail?

Martinez Cocktail Next to Liquor Bottles
The Martinez may be the least famous classic cocktail.

Never heard of a Martinez? Don’t feel bad. Although the classic drink is as timeless as a Manhattan or Martini, it has flown under the radar for decades if not longer. But what is it?

The Martinez is a sophisticated cocktail heavyweight that features no less that four alcoholic ingredients – gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and Angostura bitters. It’s also a member of the classic cocktail centenarian club along with the Mint Julep, Old Fashioned and Sazerac.

History of the Martinez Cocktail

Martinez Cocktail on Ledge
Don’t count out the Martinez despite its lack of notoriety. It’s a serious cocktail that checks all the classic cocktail boxes.

If you’re thinking that the Martinez and the Gin Martini have some similarities, you’re not mistaken. Aside from starting with the same six letters, both cocktails feature gin and vermouth.

You might also think that the Martini inspired the Martinez since it’s by far the more popular of the two drinks and has achieved cocktail icon status. However, in this regard, you would be wrong.

Straining Martinez Cocktail
Many consider the Martinez to the be the cocktail that inspired the Martini.

Research reveals that the Martinez was invented in the late 19th century and predates the Martini by decades. In fact, the Martinez, originally crafted with Old Tom gin, very well may have inspired the Martini’s creation. The two gin drinks are that similar.

As often happens with cocktail history, things get fuzzier in terms of who deserves credit for inventing the Martinez. One legend credits the creation to a California bartender named Martinez while another asserts that the name came from its possible birthplace in a Martinez, California.

Martinez Cocktail Ingredients

Martinez Cocktail Ingredients
The Martinez recipe only requires a handful of ingredients – sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, gin, Angostura bitters and an orange twist. You’ll also need ice for the mixing step.

The Martinez is a serious cocktail as evidenced by the following list of its high-octane ingredients:

  • Dry Gin
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Maraschino Liqueur
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Peel (garnish)
  • Ice

You’ll notice that there aren’t any mixers in this cocktail. Don’t worry. You won’t miss mixers once you taste your first sip.

Martinez Cocktail Liquor Bottles
Gin, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters and sweet vermouth are the Martinez’s four liquor ingredients.

You probably have three of the necessary Martinez liquors – dry gin, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters – in your bar. We use French gin, Italian vermouth and Angostura Bitters to quickly craft Martinez cocktails at home. However, you can get creative based on the liquor brands that you love and have on hand.

The fourth liquor, maraschino liqueur, is the outlier and a bit more obscure. However, you won’t regret buying a bottle since it’s also an ingredient in cocktails like the Aviation and Hemingway Daiquiri. At least that’s what happened to us after we special-ordered a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur at a local Lisbon liqueur shop.

How To Make a Martinez Cocktail

Items for Crafting a Martinez Cocktail
Crafting a Martinez takes five minutes once you assemble the necessary ingredients and bar tools.

We’d like to tell you that the Martinez is difficult to craft but then we’d be lying. Our recipe only has four steps – measuring, pouring, stirring and straining. Accordingly, we recommend the following tools to craft this cocktail:

While you don’t NEED any of these tools, you will WANT them to make your mixology session seamless. You probably have one or more, if not all, of them already.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Measuring Gin for Martinez Cocktail
We like to measure our liquors with a Japanese jigger to ensure accuracy and avoid spillage.

The first step in crafting a Martinez is to measure the gin, sweet vermouth and maraschino liqueur. We like to use a Japanese jigger but any jigger will suffice. You could also use a small angled measuring cup if you don’t have a jigger.

Click here to buy a Japanese jigger if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Crafting a Martinez Cocktail
We poured each liquor into our shaker as we measured them.

The second step is to pour the four liquors into a mixing glass. We like to use the bottom of our Boston Shaker since it’s airtight and easy to use.

Dashing Bitters into Martinez Cocktail
We dashed the Angostura bitters directly into the shaker before we added two handfuls of ice.

Text third step is to add two dashes of Angostura bitters.

Stirring Martinez Cocktail
Mixing the Martinez took us a total of 20 seconds.

The fourth step is to add ice and mix until the liquors are combined and chilled.

Straining Martinez Cocktail
The color coordination of Mind’s ring and the Martinez cocktail was a happy accident.

The final step is to strain the amber cocktail into a martini glass. You could also use a coupe glass. To be honest, the Martinez will taste great regardless of the type of cocktail glass that you use.

Click here to buy a pair of Riedel martini glasses on Amazon.

Martinez Cocktail Alternatives

Martinez Cocktail Next to Flowers
Drinking this Martinez was our reward for crafting the classic cocktail.

If you’re feeling creative or want to stretch your mixology muscles, try the following Martinez cocktail alternatives:

  • Replace the gin with Old Tom gin to recreate the original Martinez recipe.
  • Replace the gin with rum to craft a Rum Martinez cocktail.
  • Replace the gin with mezcal to craft a Mezcal Martinez cocktail.
  • Replace the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth and omit the maraschino liqueur to craft a gin Martini.
  • Replace the gin with bourbon and the maraschino liqueur with maraschino cherries to craft a Manhattan.

Martinez Cocktail Recipe

Martinez Cocktail Next to White Tiles

Martinez Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Don't underestimate the Martinez cocktail. This under-the-radar classic cocktail is as tasty as a Martini, Manhattan or Negroni. Maybe even tastier.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange twist for garnish
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Pour gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters into a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir until ingredients are mixed and chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass.
  4. Express the orange peel by twisting it over the glass and rubbing it along the rim. Then drop it into the glass as garnish.

Notes

  • You can use a martini glass if you don't have a coupe glass.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 29gProtein: 1g

Nutrition Disclosure: We used an online calculator to calculate this information. Though 2foodtrippers.com has attempted to secure accurate data, these nutritional figures are estimates.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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