Martinez, Daisy and Sangaree

(martinez, v. wasik for serious eats)
(martinez, v. wasik for serious eats)

In A Collar and Tie (GQ Book 4), Henry and Martin go to the Venetian Bar and have a few drinks. They first try the Martinez and then the Gin Daisy.

All the mixed drinks they imbibe in the books are gin-based, and that is because prefer gin drinks, and I knew I’d want to try whatever I had them drink. I’m not (yet) a whiskey/rye/bourbon fan (which is a shame, considering where I live), so I wasn’t going to want to invest in a bunch of amber liquor that I wouldn’t otherwise want to drink.

The Martinez is believed to be the precursor to the much-simpler/possibly more elegant Martini. It was probably developed in the 1860s, but first showed up in a cocktail recipe book in 1884.

Here is the Martinez Cocktail recipe from the Jerry Thomas Bartender’s Guide of 1887, which is where I got all the drink ideas from:

  • Take 1 dash of Boker’s bitters.
  • 2 dashes of Maraschino.
  • 1 pony of Old Tom gin.
  • 1 wine-glass of Vermouth.
  • 2 small lumps of ice.

Shake up thoroughly, and strain into a large cocktail
glass. Put a quarter of a slice of lemon in the glass, and serve. If the guest prefers it very sweet, add two dashes of gum syrup.

Not knowing how much a “pony” or “wine glass” would actually be, I looked for a modern conversion. (I did discover that a pony is apparently 1 oz and a wine glass 4 oz, but I can’t imagine wanting to drink that much vermouth at once.)  There are a bunch of recipes with different proportions out there, and I tried several, but this is what the Mr. and I have settled on:

Martinez (my preferred recipe):

  • 2.5 oz Old Tom gin (I like Ransom)
  • 2.5 oz sweet/red vermouth (I like Carpano Antica)
  • 0.75 oz maraschino liqueur 
  • 3 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice to chill, strain into Martini glass because you’re fancy. It’s traditionally garnished with a lemon twist (though it’s still good without). The Mr. likes to wipe the rim of the glass with lemon peel, as well, and I do recommend this because I, like Henry, LOVE lemon!

Note that my recipe makes a double-size bonus drink by modern bar standards, but well in keeping with the 5 oz of booze in the Jerry Thomas version. Also, I’ve made it both shaken and stirred, and there really does seem to be a difference. Currently, I like it stirred. You probably only need one of these!

Here’s another Martinez recipe from Employees Only, a wonderful bar in NYC where I drank yet another variation that used  lavender-infused gin. Note also that their version uses a dry/white vermouth.

The Martinez is currently my favorite cocktail, taking over first place from the Corpse Reviver No. 2, a 1920s (?) hangover cure made of gin, Cointreau, Cocchi Americano/Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and an absinthe wash.

~o0o~

Somewhere between 1887, when Jerry Thomas’ recipes were published in book form, and 1917, when Tom Bullock published The Ideal Bartender, the Gin Daisy became a drink with lime juice and grenadine, and it has had grenadine in it pretty much ever since. I am not interested in any grenadine versions, especially when maraschino liqueur is so delicious.

Gin Daisy (Jerry Thomas recipe)

  • Take 3 or 4 dashes of Orgeat, or gum syrup.
  • 3 dashes of Maraschino.
  • The juice of half a small lemon.
  • 1 wine-glass of gin

Shake well, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill up with Seltzer or Apollinaris water.

We have yet to make a version of the Daisy that I like, which is a little baffling because I like all the things that go into it. I’ll keep working on it, but I have faint hope for it ever becoming a favorite.

~o0o~

Bonus Drink: In A Most Personal Property (GQ Book 1), Henry gets sick drinking Gin Sangaree at Louis’ party. I chose this drink because it sounded really peculiar to me–at the time–and definitely old-fashioned.

Gin Sangaree (Jerry Thomas recipe)

  • Take ½ teaspoonful of fine white sugar dissolved in a little water.
  • 1 wine-glass of gin
  • dash port wine
  • grated nutmeg

Fill a medium glass one-third full of shaved ice, shake up well, strain into a small glass and dash a little Port wine on top. Serve with a little grated nutmeg.

Well, that wine-glass is 4 oz of gin, and while I am certainly capable of drinking 4 oz of gin in an evening, I’m too ladylike to start out with that as my blatant intention.

I looked into different recipes, and the one I settled on is a half-size version, as follows:

Gin Sangaree (version I’ve tried):

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 T port
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • carbonated water
  • freshly-grated nutmeg

Dissolve powdered sugar in water and add gin. Pour into a highball glass over 2 ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water and stir. Float port on top, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg, and serve.

As far as I can determine, from both personal experience and the reports of people online, the port does not ever “float” on top of anything. It sinks into the gin and sugar-water mixture immediately. Also, I couldn’t taste the nutmeg at all at first, and I ended up adding enough nutmeg to practically make a paste of it, but I couldn’t really taste it at all until quite some time after I’d imbibed, when suddenly the nutmeg flavor bloomed on my tongue.

Overall, this was a perfectly okay drink, and it seems very plausible that Henry would be willing to drink enough of it to make himself ill, but I don’t know if I’ll be making it again. I mean, it’s fine, but I like to actively enjoy my alcoholic beverages. I’m not into indifference, and I certainly don’t want to be choking them down.

As I said, this seemed like a weird drink to me when I was writing AMPP, but after other forays into vintage cocktails, it’s actually not very strange at all. The port is much milder than the Carpano Antica vermouth that I am always combining with gin, and the nutmeg is not the spicy assault I had expected, but rather is reserved and even dainty.

~o0o~

This is certainly not the last GQ-related post I will ever make, but it is the last of the GQ-specific posts I drafted while I was writing and editing the books, so I feel a little sentimental about publishing it. If you read the series, thank you so much for doing so. I hope you enjoyed it! And thank you for following these research posts. I’ve loved doing them, and I hope they’ve been interesting to readers. Please keep an eye out for future stories in the GQ universe in 2016, and a non-GQ book coming out hopefully before the end of 2015.

<3

2 thoughts on “Martinez, Daisy and Sangaree”

    1. Haha! Oh, I’m sure there will be more research posts as I am able to put out more GQ stories! But, yeah, this was the last of the ones I drafted while I was working on the books. So–milestone, or maybe more of a milepebble.

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