About & History
Residents of the city with which this drink shares its name claim that the drink was the invention of a local bartender. However, others maintain that it was the brainchild of the famous drinks writer and experienced bar worker Jerry Thomas. The story goes that he created the cocktail for a customer that was heading the city in California. The truth is definitely long lost in the mists of time.
This is such a historic recipe that it is mentioned in O. H. Byron’s 1884 book, “The Modern Bartender’s Guide”. There was no indication in that first written recipe about which kind of gin should be used. However, as Dutch genevers were widely available and extremely popular in this period it seems likely that botanically rich type of gin would fit the bill to recreate the original flavor.
When served over ice, the individual components combine into a delicious drink with layers of flavor. The botanicals in the gin marry with the herbal elements from the vermouth. This in turn is accented with the cherry flavor of the maraschino liqueur which creates a vibrant and complex beverage. It is not hard to see how the Martini was born from this flavor profile.
- 1 ½ Ounces Gin
- 1 ½ Ounces Sweet Vermouth
- ¼ Ounce Maraschino Liqueur
- 2 Dashes Angostura Butters
- 1 Twist Orange Peel Garnish
- Measure out all of the ingredients except the orange peel in a glass
- Add ice and stir until fully combined and chilled
- Strain the drink into a Martini glass that has been chilled down in advance
- Garnish with a twist of orange peel
Simple to make but full of flavor, it is no surprise that this classic drink has been delighting gin-lovers for well over a century and will maintain its popularity for many years to come.
The drink was also featured in “The Bartender’s Guide” by Jerry Thomas. He is called “the Father of American Mixology” Thomas’ specified the use of an Old Tom gin in his version of the drink. This is the “missing link” between the slightly sweeter Dutch genever and drier London Dry Gin. Further variations have been created over the years. You can experiment with curaçao or using a different kind of vermouth to change the flavor, but the easiest way to change it up is to try using different gins.
Using some of the wide variety of flavored gins available today can add strong notes of florals, citrus fruits, or spices to the finished drink. Using a traditional London Dry Gin will impart a punchier burst of flavor. You should stick to an Old Tom gin if you want to recreate the original though.