Despite the country’s rapidly growing taste for craft cocktails, the Martini still remains a top request for many patrons in restaurants, usually accompanied with a litany of confusing specifications detailing the precise number of olives, how little vermouth should be used, and the preferred brand of vodka. Though there is nothing wrong with a Martini, I’ve always been a much bigger fan of another classic and more complex cocktail that was actually the predecessor to what became today’s Martini, the Martinez.
Unlike the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan and the Negroni, which stem from the same general period as this cocktail, the Martinez has not yet seemed to make the same triumphant comeback as its contemporaries, despite its accessibility. Historically, this cocktail was made with Old Tom Gin, a sweetened gin style that could be considered a bridge between the Holland Genever and London Dry styles, as well as sweet vermouth and Maraschino liqueur. Though the original recipe is far sweeter than a Martini, especially since the majority of the drink was comprised of sweet vermouth and almost resembles a Manhattan, many will find a predominantly gin-based Martinez spec being served in bars today, using the London-dry gins, such as Bombay Dry, Plymouth or Beefeater.
Adding another twist to this recipe, I decided to try Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, which has a notably unique floral and perfumed character stemming from rose, raspberry and peaches. Though Nolet’s might be somewhat new to the market, it incidentally comes from the same family in Holland that produces Ketel One Vodka, and at an average price of $50 a bottle, Nolet’s is certainly a premium gin choice for use in a Martinez. Thankfully, the spirit delivered in providing a gorgeous and delicate floral palate, making for one of the more regal Martinez cocktails I’ve ever had. Perhaps if enough Martini drinkers sip this variation, the Martinez will someday receive its much-deserved acclaim.
- 1 1/2 ounces Nolet's Silver Dry Gin
- 3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Maraschino
- 2 dashes Bitter Truth orange bitters
- Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well for 15 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe and express oils from an orange twist over top, adding it to the glass as a garnish.
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