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Two friends with a shared love for Classic Cocktails, paying homage to the pre-prohibition era. We do parties!

Monday, May 9, 2011


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Photo: T.J. McLachlan

Chances are fairly good that you have had a martini; or heard of a martini; or heard about someone who heard about martinis. But did you know that there was a martini before the martini? Let us introduce you to the Martinez, precursor to the ubiquitous martini. Like most cocktails, the history is hazy. Perhaps it was named after a guy named Martinez. Or, perhaps it was named by one of the most famous American bartenders of all time, Jerry Thomas - inspired by a fellow who traveled to Martinez, California every day.

photo: The Museum of the American Cocktail

If the story is that Jerry Thomas named it after a guy who went to Martinez, then let us tell you a bit about the father of American mixology, and author of the seminal work: The Bar-Tender's Guide (or, The Bon-Vivant's Companion) in 1862. It was Thomas' creativity and showmanship that brought to life the image of the bartender as creative professional. His signature drink was the "Blue Blazer" - a dazzling display of whiskey lit aflame, dancing between two mixing glasses, creating a fiery arc.

Although the Martinez is not lit on fire and danced around the room, it was published by Jerry Thomas in a second edition of his book in 1887. While a precursor to the Martini, it should be noted that the two drinks do not share many flavour traits. Instead of gin and dry vermouth (or vodka and dry vermouth), the Martinez employs Sweet Vermouth and a dash of Angostura Bitters (a bartender's staple). We like to use 1 oz of the delicious Plymouth Gin and 2 oz of Sweet Vermouth to round out this cocktail. This drink packs a mild punch, but nothing compared to the bare knuckle fights our Jerry Thomas was a huge fan of! 

Stirred in a mixing glass and garnished with a lemon twist, this drink is sure to satisfy.

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