"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."
(Photo by Kristin Unger)
The Martinez is more than a little puzzling.
It’s a silky twist of gin, vermouth, maraschino and bitters that tastes clean and crisp when it hits your lips. And then the flavor washes over you like a crescendo. It’s so damn good and simple, you figure this drink should be in the cocktail pantheon among the greats.
But the Martinez, old as it is, was never as famous as its cousins the Manhattan and the Martini; in fact, until the last few years, it was impossible to even make one. That’s because Old Tom Gin was one of the tragic casualties of Prohibition, banished from the market and never revived. Only recently did enthusiastic cocktailians resurrect recipes for Old Tom and get it back into production, making cocktails like the Martinez possible.
(Photo by Seth Putnam)
If the Manhattan (whiskey + sweet vermouth), is based around the idea of vermouth as a civilizing ingredient for spirits, the Martinez could be considered a new civilizing of that civilizing, with a softer and subtler gin replacing the brash whiskey. We like the addition of dry vermouth in our version, a nod to the dry martini, a drink that would fully emerge a few decades after the Martinez. And the orange peel also gives it a wonderful brightness, a nod to some versions of the drink that use orange liqueur in place of maraschino. But we’re probably most smitten with Ransom’s barrel-aged Old Tom gin, one of the most elegant spirits on the market, which will coincidentally make a gin and tonic that will ruin you for all others.
(Photo by Emily Fiffer)
A brisk November night was the backdrop for the Overserved Society’s fifth edition, a cavorting soirée at Red And White Wines in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. We were again joined by foodies Tasting Table and Daily Candy, who provided food to pair, from mushroom-and-herb empanadas to walnut spice cake, and kept our ruffians well sated. Surrounded by fine booze, food, and laughter, there was an unquenchable alegría de vida hanging in the air.
(Photo by Blake Royer)
1.5 oz Ransom Old Tom gin
.75 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
.75 oz Dolin dry vermouth
1 barspoon Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 swath of an orange peel
(Photo by Shani Silver)
Stir with ice for 35 revolutions. Strain. Pinch an orange peel over the drink, letting the spritz of oil cascade down and splash onto the surface. Then, rub the peel around the rim of the glass. Garnish and serve.
(Photo by Heather Sperling)