Martinez Cocktail

This Martinez cocktail is a smooth, sophisticated cocktail with numerous variations, although ours, like the classic, creates a smooth result thanks to that elusive and perfect balance of gin, sweet vermouth, bitters, and maraschino liqueur.

Two coupe glasses filled with martinez cocktail and a strip of orange zest with a cocktail shaker and more orange zest in the background.

The Martinez cocktail has seen some novel new variations, but the classic drink dating back to the 1800s deftly illustrates, according to author Eben Klemm, how complicated yet smooth flavors can be, with it being difficult to discern any particular flavor components. “The gin and mixing spirits surrender their individual flavors to a sea of subtle spice.” We’re not going to argue with that. Nor will we turn away a second one of these cocktails. Or, perhaps, a third.

Renee Schettler Rossi


  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 1
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Pour the gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters into an empty cocktail shaker or a tall glass.

Fill the shaker completely with ice and stir with a bar spoon until the outside is cold, about 30 seconds.

Strain and serve, garnished with orange or lemon zest. Originally published December 29, 2009.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Why did I wait so long to try this Martinez cocktail? I'm a former bartender and still keep a fairly well-stocked bar. I've had the components on hand, but just haven’t gotten around to it until this came up in our list of recipes to test. I have a few different styles of gin on hand, so I tried a few variations (though not all on the same night!).

I made this with a the following brands of gin: the Plymouth (as per the recipe), Aviation (which is very smooth), and Bombay Sapphire (more botanical). I used Punt e’ Mes vermouth in all of the variations.

I also tried different ratios of the ingredients.The wonderful thing about cocktails is that once you have the basic components, you can experiment with various iterations.

This cocktail is bright and warm at the same time and varies greatly with the different gins. It also changes as you drink it: the first sip is quite different from the last, as it mellows a bit. My favorite variation was the last one I tried. I used the Plymouth Gin but changed the ratio to 1.5 oz gin and 1.5 of vermouth and an orange peel instead of lemon. This was my favorite of all.

A little trick is to stir the cocktail until the shaker is almost too cold to touch, usually about 30 to 40 seconds. Have fun playing with this recipe until you find your favorite combination. Cheers!

This Martinez cocktail is a great simple drink to tuck into your toolkit. Somewhere between a Negroni and a Manhattan, it has a sweet yet aromatic note and looks far more sophisticated than the effort of a few minutes.

If you don’t keep maraschino liqueur on hand but happen to have some excellent top shelf Luxardo cherries, this is the perfect excuse to use a tiny bit of that syrup from the jar (waste not, want not). We made ours with Venus small batch gin with lots of aromatic punch from Santa Cruz and a Spanish Vermut negre. I prechilled the glasses by filling them with ice and water while assembling the drink.

This will be in rotation now. Was surprised that this recipe might actually predate the martini and goes back to the 1870s, created here in the Bay Area (tucking that away for trivia night!)

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