I like a good Martinez. That's not much of a secret, at least around my house. While there are a lot of great drinks in the world this is one of the ones that I continue to come back to. Again and again. Switch up the gin or vermouth, adjust the ratio, try different bitters, it doesn't matter, this one consistently hits the mark.

To make one you will need gin (old tom if possible), sweet vermouth, maraschino and bitters. Historically, its origin situates it between two of the most iconic drinks out there: the Manhattan and the Martini. It's sweet but not too sweet, herbal, rich, smooth and luxurious. It's also fairly accommodating to tweaks and adjustments (which often involve the role played by vermouth).

Then of course, there's fernet. Which doesn't really need an introduction. It doesn't even need friends but don't tell that to tasty drinks like the Toronto, Bonsoni, DLB, Industry Sour, Fanciulli, etc...Below, there's a Martinez, then a couple of drinks that will likely have some appeal if you have a soft spot for gin, sweet vermouth and fernet.

First up is the Hanky Panky*, which takes the Martinez and subs fernet for the maraschino, then there's the Don't Give Up the Ship which tweaks the Hanky Panky's ratios and adds some curacao. In my head, the connection between these three is a six degrees of separation thing. Except instead of six it's three and instead of actors it's booze. But then I started wondering - does that make Kevin Bacon a Martinez? It does for the purpose at hand I suppose. Hmm, a Benton's Old Fashioned seems the more obvious choice, or perhaps a Presbyterian (what denomination was that anti-dancing preacher?), but then again...hold on, that will have to be a post for another time.

 

 

Martinez

Martinez

Just your basic Martinez. Which is to say, an incredibly delicious drink. I usually use old tom for the gin but in the interest of being thorough I mixed up a version with London dry as well. Just to make sure. Both were great, the differences being what you'd expect depending on the gin used. Hayman's was softer, rounder and sweeter while Beefeater was sharper with substantially more juniper. When I manage to have Ransom on hand I can guarantee you that the Martinez will play a significant role in its inevitable depletion. That gin is fantastic in this drink.

Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky

Take your soft and round Martinez, replace the bitters and the sweet, funky maraschino with fernet and the result is a darker, more mysterious drink. While the fernet here is not difficult to pick out (is it ever?) the quantity, 1/4 oz, allows it to support and enhance the gin/vermouth combination, not redirect it.

Don't Give Up the Ship

Don't Give Up the Ship

So good. Cointreau and fernet are doing something really nice here. More than oranges and herbs. Cointreau adds an edge and a slight bite as fernet jumps in with an 'Oh yeah? How about this!' Rich and bitter flavors unfold while gin guides the whole affair with its proof and juniper-y goodness. I do love this drink.

 

Martinez - Jerry Thomas, Bartender's Guide, 1887
1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Maraschino
2 dashes Boker's (sub Angostura, orange bitters are also nice)
Garnish - Lemon Twist

Stir, strain, up

 

Hanky Panky - Ada Coleman, Savoy, early 20th century
1 1/2 oz Gin, London Dry
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Fernet
Garnish - Orange Twist

Stir, strain, up

- Old tom may have been used and in fact makes a fine drink.

 

Don't Give Up the Ship - Crosby Gaige, Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion, 1941
1 1/2 oz Gin, London Dry
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Fernet
1 dash Orange Bitters
Garnish - Orange Peel

Stir, strain, up

- There are other specs around for this drink but I happily defer to the rigorous scientific experiments done here. Since reading that post (and many others on that blog) I have left this drink alone. I make it and I enjoy it.
 

 

*Bonus track. The Hanky Panky is a great drink and I realize that 100 years ago a statement like "By Jove! That is the real hanky panky!" probably wasn't uncommon. It's hard to say it now though without a chuckle. Which, at this point, for me at least, is part of the drink's charm. However, in that spirit, and in the spirit of riffs and laughs and late night drink-fueled inspiration I offer the:

Straight Face
1 1/2 oz Mezcal, Vida
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth, Cocchi
1/4 oz Fernet
Garnish - Lemon Twist

Stir, strain, up

Posted
AuthorTrey