Drink of the Week: Martinez cocktail

I am not a big fan of martinis. I find them too boozy and too dry, and for those with just a “splash” of vermouth, too Christmas tree-forward (translation: juniper-y). I do, however, like Manhattans, so just imagine if there was a gin Manhattan! Well, there is — sort of. It’s called a Martinez and this classic cocktail actually predates the traditional gin martini.

The Martinez is rather like a sweet Manhattan, with gin and a touch of maraschino liqueur.

The Martinez is rather like a sweet Manhattan, but with gin and a touch of maraschino liqueur. I tried this one at a “Three Martini Lunch” at the Yellow Door Bistro.

The Martinez is basically a martini made with sweet vermouth, a couple dashes of bitters and a splash of maraschino liqueur (a delicious, fairly dry liqueur made from sour Marasca cherries). Peter Hunt from Victoria Spirits on Vancouver Island made me one using his aged Oaken Gin at a “Three Martini Lunch” event during the Art of the Cocktail festival in Calgary. I was smitten.

As a bonus, this drink hits on three of the cocktail trends I wrote about last weekend for the Calgary Herald: gin is still in, vermouth is the latest rage, and everything is better with some bitters. A Martinez might also be just the thing to sip with your chocolate eggs on Easter morning.


  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients with ice in a Boston glass and then fine-strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

— Recipe courtesy Peter Hunt, Victoria Spirits

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