This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

The Martinez cocktail is a true classic! A cousin to the Martini and Manhattan, it’s sophisticated and classy: perfect for slow sipping.

Martinez cocktail

Here’s a drink that’s classy and complex: the Martinez! This classic cocktail is in the spirit-forward cocktail family, a cousin of the Martini and the Manhattan. To us, it’s an improvement on both! There’s so much going on flavor-wise. It’s balanced and just sweet enough, with notes of cherry and cinnamon, and a little spice at the finish. This cocktail hasn’t caught on in the same way as its cousins: but it absolutely deserves a place at the table.

What’s in a Martinez cocktail?

The Martinez is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1880’s, when it was included in a several cocktail books. The exact origin is unclear (it may have been invented by a bartender in Martinez, California: hence the name!). It’s considered the precursor to the Martini, but it’s also very closely related to the Manhattan. To us, the flavor is much closer to the Manhattan: it essentially replaces whiskey with gin.

This drink is a classic cocktail on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning it has an official definition. The ingredients in a Martinez are:

  • Gin
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Angostura bitters
Maraschino liqueur

Maraschino liqueur: is it worth buying?

The Martinez cocktail is for the adventurous drinker because it has one ingredient you might not already have on hand: maraschino liqueur. Now, this is not the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries! Don’t be fooled by the name.

Maraschino liqueur is a clear, cherry-flavored liqueur. The flavor is dry with a hint of sweet, with sour cherry and almond notes. The flavor is irresistibly intriguing and it’s worth buying if you love being an at home bartender. It’s also used in other classic maraschino liqueur cocktails like the zingy Hemingway Daiquiri and the lovely purple Aviation. There are several brands of maraschino liqueur: a popular one is Luxardo (which we found at our local liquor store).

Martinez cocktail

Let’s talk vermouth!

Vermouth is a fortified wine, meaning liquor has been added to the wine to make it last longer. There are two main types: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). Sweet vermouth is subtly sweet and spicy, with a hint of bitter on the back end. Sweet vermouth is used in other classic cocktails like the Manhattan and the Negroni.

Dry white vermouth is totally different! It’s used in drinks like the Classic MartiniDirty Martini or the Old Pal. Make sure to store vermouth in the refrigerator; it will stay good for up to 3 months. Here are all our favorite Vermouth Cocktails to use up a bottle.

Angostura bitters round it out!

Just like the Manhattan, the Martinez uses a few drops of bitters to add complexity to the drink. The type called Angostura bitters are popularly used in cocktails. A drink transforms with just a few drops! That’s because bitters are made with herbs and spices: it adds intrigue because the flavors are not easily recognizable.

Angostura bitters are one of the most popular in drinks and easy to find. Other cocktails that use Angostura bitters? The Old Fashioned, Tequila Sour, and Vodka Sour.

Martinez cocktail

Use a good quality gin

Of course, you’ll need to use a good quality gin for any good cocktail! Our rule of thumb is to buy a gin that’s mid-priced: it’s typically an indicator of quality. The gin we like to use is called Malfy gin and we usually order it online.

When to serve a Martinez cocktail

The Manhattan cocktail is a sophisticated and complex gin cocktail. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Martinez cocktail

Classic Martinez Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Martinez cocktail is a true classic! A cousin to the Martini and Manhattan, it’s sophisticated and classy: perfect for slow sipping. 


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Maraschino liqueur
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • For the garnish: orange peel


  1. Combine the gin, sweet vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass (or any other type of glass). Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass.
  3. Use a knife to remove a strip of the orange peel. Squeeze the orange peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass. If desired, twist it, then place it in the glass and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Martinez Cocktail

More great gin cocktails

There are so many fabulous ways to drink gin! Here are some of our favorite gin cocktails:

  • Gin Fizz Cocktail Super classic, this drink is sweet, tangy, and has a frothy egg white foam topping.
  • Best Gin and Tonic Here are the keys to the very best gin and tonic, the most refreshing 2-ingredient cocktail.
  • Aviation Cocktail A 1900’s mixed drink with a lovely purple hue!
  • Last Word This pale green classic is beautifully balanced between sharp, sour, and sweet.
  • Bramble Drizzle a lemony gin sour with candy-sweet blackberry liqueur for a stunning drink.
  • Bijou Cocktail Its name evokes glittering jewels: gin for diamond, vermouth for ruby and Chartreuse for emerald.
  • Gin Fizz Super classic, this drink is sweet, tangy, and has a frothy egg white foam topping.
  • Singapore Sling A fun and complex classic cocktail with an impressively long ingredient list.
  • Tom Collins Cocktail Light, bubbly, sweet tart, and just plain fun.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment