The Martinez is more than a little puzzling.
It's a silky twist of gin, vermouth, maraschino, and bitters that taste so clean and crisp that a first sip can only lead you to wonder: Why isn’t this drink in the classic cocktail pantheon among the greats?
The Martinez, old as it is, has never been as famous as its cousins the Manhattan and the Martini. In fact, until the last few years, it was impossible to even make one. See, Old Tom Gin was one of the tragic casualties of Prohibition, banished from the market and never revived (speaking of which, we doff our caps to recognize the 79th anniversary of the 21st amendment today, December 5). Only recently did enthusiastic cocktailians resurrect recipes for Old Tom and get it back into production, making great cocktails like the Martinez possible.
If the Manhattan (whiskey + sweet vermouth), is based around the idea of vermouth as a civilizing ingredient for spirits, the Martinez could be considered a further civilizing of that civilizing, with a softer and subtler gin replacing the brash whiskey. We like the addition of dry vermouth in our version, a nod to the dry martini, a drink that would fully emerge a few decades after the Martinez. An orange peel also gives it a wonderful brightness, a nod to some versions of the drink that use orange liqueur in place of maraschino. We found the drink’s elegant backbone in Ransom's barrel-aged Old Tom gin (also perfect for a gin and tonic that will ruin you for all others).
The backdrop for the Overserved Society's fifth edition was a cavorting soirée at Red And White Wines in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood. We were again joined by foodies Tasting Table and Daily Candy, who provided food to pair, from mushroom-and-herb empanadas to walnut spice cake, and kept our ruffians well-sated. Surrounded by fine booze, food, and laughter, there was an unquenchable alegría de vida hanging in the air.
The Overserved Society's Martinez
1.5 oz Ransom Old Tom gin
.75 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
.75 oz Dolin dry vermouth
1 barspoon Luxardo maraschino
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 orange peel
Stir with ice for 35 revolutions. Strain. Pinch an orange peel over the drink, letting the spritz of oil cascade down and splash onto the surface. Then, rub the peel around the rim of the glass. Garnish and serve.
Check out the full collection of recipes from The Overserved Society.