So. Deep breath. We close on our condo in six days and move in eight. We’re getting to the nitty and, especially, the gritty parts of preparing for a move. I spent this morning cleaning out the refrigerator. We’re only moving a few blocks, so we don’t have to get rid of all of our perishables or even put chilled and frozen items in the freezer in order to transfer them to our new place.
But, probably like most people who cook frequently, we’ve acquired odd jars and bottles that have made their way to the back of the refrigerator shelf and been forgotten. Things have dripped and tipped over and left sticky residue in places. I tossed some almond oil I think I bought 3 years ago, a shriveled piece of ginger root that had migrated to the back of the cheese drawer, some moldy tamarind paste, and some mystery leftovers that I had forgotten months ago.
It’s an ugly business. A task that requires tenacity and alacrity with dispatching the garbage.
And so, predictably, I find myself wanting to take a break from all of that unpleasantness and pour myself a drink.
This particular cocktail is one of my standbys. The Martinez is an old drink, a predecessor to the familiar Martini, made with Old Tom gin, a style of gin popular in the 19th century that predates the London dry style of gin that we find most commonly now. Old Tom gin has been experiencing a revival with many differing interpretations. I’m partial to Ransom Old Tom, which is sweeter and fuller bodied than London dry varieties and it’s brown in color because it’s aged in wine barrels. I think of it as a bridge between gin and whiskey.
I think of the Martinez as something more akin to a Manhattan than a Martini. Its base spirit is the Old Tom gin, which gets rounded out with sweet vermouth and a splash of maraschino liqueur, which is a clear dry liqueur made from tart cherries (that has nothing in common with the sweet neon cherries that top ice cream sundaes) and a few dashes of Angostura and orange bitters, which bring a hint of warm spices and fruitiness to the drink.
It all gets stirred with a barspoon, strained into a chilled coupe or old style martini glass, and garnished with a piece of lemon zest.
It is a drink I find remarkably equanimous. It’s not too sweet, not too tart, not too bitter, not too light, not too dark. It’s perfectly in balance. The Martinez is the default cocktail in our house. It’s a drink that Dan and I are never not in the mood for.
- 2 ounces Old Tom gin preferably Ransom
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1/4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- 3 dashes orange bitters preferably Regan’s
- 3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- Add the Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino and both kinds of bitters to an ice-filled mixing glass (or mixing tin) and stir with a barspoon until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel. Serve immediately.