Those who have done research on the Dry Martini would agree that the Martinez is the original martini or alleged to be the precursor. It could have been named for a traveler named Martinez who was the beneficiary of Jerry Thomas’s bartending creativity. This is quite a mysterious cocktail. For one, there isn’t really much research about this almost vintage cocktail. Yet there are many variations to be found in various publications.
There is a classification of cocktails known as “Vermouth Cocktails”. Around the 1860s and 1870s, it was basically 2 ounces of vermouth, a small piece of ice and a small piece of lemon peel. However, in 1884, O.H. Byron1 printed a version of the Vermouth Cocktail in The Modern Bartender’s Guide. It contained 1.5 ounces of French vermouth, 3 dashes of Angostura bitters, and half a spoon or so of gum syrup (sugar syrup)2. In 1887, in Jerry Thomas’s updated edition of ‘How to Mix Drinks’ had a variation called Fancy Vermouth Cocktail which uses vermouth, a couple of dashes of Angostura, 1 teaspoon of maraschino and replaces the twist with a quarter wheel of a lemon. Because of its similarity in components to the current accepted version, Thomas is often given credit for inventing the Martinez3.
The original recipe called for 1 dash of Bokers Bitters, 2 dashes of maraschino, 1 ounce of Old Tom Gin, 2 ounces of vermouth, 2 small lumps of ice and garnish with a quarter wheel of a lemon. Jerry Thomas’s book says to shake but it should be stirred to maintain concentration of flavor as opposed to possible over-dilution.
With this cocktail, we see the movement of the use of vermouth in cocktails and we will look into more cocktails with this aromatic wine.
1. O.H. Byron: Author. Background unknown though it has been speculated that the name might have been made up to represent a group of authors for the "The Modern Bartender’s Guide".
2. David Wondrich (2007). Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar.
3. Degroff, Dale (2008). The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks