The Martinez Martini/Manhattan: gin, vermouth, Angostura, maraschino

The Martinez Martini:gin, dry vermouth, Angostura bitters, maraschino liqueur

Look up the Martinez online, and you find all sorts of stories about it. Here are the facts:

1. The Manhattan is older than the Martini.
2. The Manhattan uses sweet vermouth and a maraschino cherry.

And that’s about it. Most people postulate that the Martinez is the bridge between the Manhattan and the Martini. Most original Martinez recipes merely substitute gin for the Manhattan’s whiskey: voila, the Martinez. But as people began to switch to dry vermouth, the Martinez morphed into the Martini.

Dale DeGroff’s modern Martinez recipe is interesting because it uses dry vermouth but keeps the bitters (now Angostura instead of Booker’s) and the maraschino liqueur (to mimic the taste of the maraschino cherry). Here is his recipe:

  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 2 dashes maraschino liqueur
  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • lemon peel

Just a note here: I don’t keep maraschino liqueur, although I should, so I substituted 2 dashes of Peter Heering, which is a better liqueur anyway. Come on, guys, it’s only 2 dashes. Sheesh.

The Martinez is good for the repertoire, but it isn’t something I’ll be making on a regular basis. Frankly, it does keep many of the same bitters and sweet maraschino notes of the Manhattan, and those are the parts of the Manhattan that I don’t really like that much. What they do, though, is they cut down on the strength of the Martini. The Martinez is unlike the modern dry Martini and nothing like the dirty Martini, yet it isn’t like the Manhattan, either. It isn’t crazy strong like the Martini, nor weirdly sweet like the Manhattan.

My plan is to keep the recipe on hand when I’m making Martinis in case there is something in the drinking party that doesn’t exactly like Martinis. For me, though, the dirty is still the best.

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