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Martinez Cocktail Recipe | Wine Enthusiast

Martinez Cocktail Recipe | Wine Enthusiast

Made with gin and vermouth, the Martinez is a precursor to one of the world’s best-known and most popular cocktails, the Martini. It’s considered either a descendent of, or created around the same time as the Manhattan. All of this to say: it’s been in the cocktail cannon for a very long time.

What is the History of the Martinez Cocktail?

Many believe it was created sometime in 1860–70s. “The first written recipe of the Martinez appears in O.H. Byron’s 1884 The Modern Bartender as a variation of the Manhattan with Dutch genever or Old Tom gin,” says Ian Alexander, bar director of The Dead Rabbit in New York City.

Like a lot of these old school drinks, the Martinez has evolved over the past couple of centuries. Classically, it combines gin with vermouth and bitters. But famous bartenders of the pre- and post-Prohibition eras, from Jerry Thomas to Robert Vermeire and Harry Craddock, put preferred variations of the Martinez in their cocktail books, each changing slightly with the tastes of their era.

Even today, there’s no clear consensus on Martinez ingredients. Gin preferences vary widely, which generally (and should) influence the vermouth that’s used.

What’s the Best Vermouth for a Martinez?

Some recipes call for dry vermouth. Others, like Wine Enthusiast’s version (below) would fall under the category of a “perfect” Martinez—cocktail slang that means equal parts sweet and dry vermouth to balance out the sweeter notes of Old Tom gin and touch of maraschino liqueur. The folks at the Dead Rabbit, on the other hand, mix Old Tom and London Dry gins with house Maraschino liqueur (made from equal parts Luxardo Maraschino and Clear Creek Kirschwasser) and sweet vermouth. “The best is subjective,” says Alexander. “But we’ve found that Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is well suited for our spec.”

You May Also Like: 10 of our Favorite Vermouths for Cocktails or Straight Sipping

That being said, the classic Martinez is not a frequent order at the Dead Rabbit—or anywhere really, nowadays—however, their riff on the drink, the Pop Shop, is very popular. The variation (also highlighted below) is made with raspberry syrup, plum spirit and verjus rouge to creates “a flavor profile reminiscent of the traditional drink,” says Alexander, but with a modern twist.

Martinez Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 ounces Old Tom gin
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 bar spoon maraschino liqueur, like Luxardo
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Orange peel, for garnish


Combine all ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir for 30–45 seconds, until well chilled. Strain into chilled martini, coupe, or Nick & Nora glass. Twist orange peel over drink surface to express oils, and drop in.

Martinez Variation

For a more vermouth-forward option that works great as a pre-dinner cocktail, alter above measurements to 1½ ounces Old Tom gin, ¾ ounce sweet vermouth, ¾ ounce dry vermouth, 1 bar spoon maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes orange bitters.

Pop Shop Recipe

  • 1 ½ ounces Condesa Gin
  • ½ ounce Mommenpop Meyer Lemon Aperitif
  • ¼ ounce Byrrh
  • ¼ ounce Dolin Blanc
  • ½ teaspoon Verjus Rouge
  • ½ teaspoon Raspberry Syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Empirical Plum, I Suppose


Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and stir until cold and diluted. Strain into a Savage Pony Glass. Serve.

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