Martinez – Classic Recipe & History

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The Origins And History Of The Martinez Cocktail.

So I might be wrong on this one. Still, from all the various pre-prohibition cocktail books I have, I feel that the Martinez is the British carry-over of Harry Johnson’s original 1888 martini recipe. The recipes are almost identical, even down to the optional ingredients, and I only see the Martinez in my British books. None of the American ones have it. Again I could be wrong, and maybe there are a few puzzle pieces I’m missing, but if it is not the same cocktail, then whoever first made a Martinez was reading Harry Johnson when they first made it.

The Martini was first published in Harry Johnson’s 1888 New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. His first recipe was 2 or 3 dashes of gum syrup, 2 or 3 dashes of Boker’s bitters, one dash of Curaçao, 1/2 wine glass of Old Tom Gin, and 1/2 wine glass of Italian Vermouth. Very different from what you think of a martini. Over the next decade, the Martini changes to what is now considered the sweet martini, and overall the field seems to settle on that recipe. Even Harry Johnson changes his Martini recipe to match the newer ones. But that older version seems to have lived on or changed its name in Europe. The British book by Farrow and Jackson, “Recipes of American and Other Iced Drinks,” has an almost spot-on recipe to match the first martini. Even a Spanish book “El Arte del cocktelero Europeo,” also from 1912, has a Martinez cocktail but no martini. The London Savoy has one but not the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Again I may be wrong and missing information, but what I have seen and the current evidence leads me to at least believe this may be the case.

Recipe Resources

1902 Recipes of American and Other Iced Drinks – Farrow


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Course: DrinksCuisine: British






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Learn how to make a Martinez


  • 1 dash Cardamom Bitters

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 2 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Old Tom Gin


  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 15 – 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass, express an lemon peel over the top, and garnish with a maraschino Cherry.



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