The Cocktail College Podcast: Martinez

Cocktail historians haven’t been able to pin down the origins of the Martini, but many believe it to have evolved from the Manhattan by way of the Martinez — a stirred blend of Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, and bitters. 

Whether or not that theory is true, it’s generally agreed that the Martinez was born on the West Coast. Some say that legendary bartender Jerry Thomas coined the cocktail one day while working at San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel, and served it to a guest stopping by on their way to the nearby town of Martinez — named after former San Francisco mayor Ygnacio Martinez. Then again, others claim that an unknown bartender at an unidentified saloon in Martinez itself first whipped up this drink. Whatever the case may be, the Martinez may not be as famous as its supposed siblings, but it holds a very important place in cocktail history, making the drink more than deserving of a standalone episode. 

So here we are! Joining us is San Francisco local Nicolas Torres, the bar director of True Laurel. The Martinez is a drink Torres has made countless times in its classic guise throughout his 15-plus-year career. It also offered the inspiration for one of the most popular proprietary drinks at True Laurel — one that’s been on the menu since day one. 

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Get ready for a chat about “winter” Martinis, foraging for cocktail ingredients, and Torres’s coconut-infused Martinez riff. It’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast. Tune in for more. 

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Nicolas Torres’ Martinez Recipe


  • 1 ¾ ounces Old Tom gin
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth, ideally French
  • ¼ ounce (scant) Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into a petite coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist.

In the Pines, Under the Palms Recipe (simplified)


  • ¾ ounce coconut-washed rye
  • ¾ ounce St. George Terroir gin
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¼ ounce (scant) Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: pine tips, arak


  1. Mist a rocks glass with arak.
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Stir until chilled.
  4. Strain into misted rocks glass over one large cube of ice.
  5. Garnish with pine tips.