Cocktail of the Week - Crystal Clear Martinez

With fifty-two original gin cocktails quenching cocktail-lovers thirst for creativity at London Cocktail Week this week, you’ll find many that are alternative versions of well-recognized mixtures. The City of London Distillery Bar opted for a twist on the classic cocktail, the Martinez. 

modern bartender

History provides no definitive proof but it is suspected that the Martinez predates both the Martini, whose original recipe is gin mixed with dry vermouth, and the Manhattan, which uses a sweet vermouth like Martini Rosso. Vermouth became a regular mixer in the States around the 1870s, the same time that the Martinez, as well as the Martini and Manhattan, are thought to have first appeared.

The first written proof of the Martinez comes from 1884, when O.H. Byron published his Modern Bartender’s Guide. The book describes the drink as “Same as a Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky.” As Dutch oude genever was the prevalent juniper-based spirit of the era, there is little doubt that the first Martinez combined it with sweet vermouth and potentially maraschino, which is a standard ingredient today. A debate continues today as to whether San Francisco or New York is the cocktail’s home and nobody knows where the name “Martinez” originates. 

Suspicions that it it comes from the California gold rush town of Martinez exist, placing SF as the front runner. But some things taste better when they remain a mystery.

The COLD Bar’s take on the classic cocktail, however, is not a mystery. With its own London Dry Gin as its base, COLD uses the bitter aperitif wine Cocchi Americano, Luxardo Maraschino and Regans Orange Bitters to create what it calls a “beautifully clear drink with lots of flavour”. And, of course, it’s stirred, not shaken.