From her pin-up fabulous hair to her classic tattoo’s, Molly Wellmann is clearly a woman who takes the best of what the past has to offer and gives it her own modern touch. When Charlie and I sat down with Molly at her bar Japp’s in Over the Rhine for Episode 15‘s Bottoms Up segment I knew I was in for a treat and I was not disappointed. Like Molly, I am fascinated with the American pedigree of modern cocktails so I asked her to make us up a vintage cocktail with a good story and she quickly decided on The Martinez.
According to Molly’s research The Martinez was created in the 1850’s in San Francisco. It was the specialty cocktail at the Occidental Hotel where people often waited at the bar to catch the ferry to the city of Martinez. It is also said to be a forbearer to the Martini, although like all cocktail origin stories, this one is most likely apocryphal at best. The drink was made with a type of sweetened gin that was popular at the time called Old Tom Gin, but since that is no longer available Molly substituted it with an Ohio gin called Watershed Gin, which she described as a very “citrus forward” gin. For the cherry liquor Molly used Luxardo liquore made from Maraschino cherries grown in Italy and aged in an ash cask for a hint of nuttiness. (I also learned from her that all this time I’ve been mispronouncing the word maraschino.) It’s a clear liquor that is nothing like the bright red syrup I was expecting. The sweet vermouth was a Californian vermouth called Vya, and in continuing the education theme of the show, I learned that you should chill vermouth and not store it at the back of the liquor cabinet like I do.
1 1/2 ounces Gin
1/4 ounce Maraschino Liquor
1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
Stir with ice for a softer mouthfeel and strain into a martini glass.
Add two dashes of bitters.
Cut a fresh twist of lemon peel and rub it over the lip of the glass before adding to the drink.
I do heartily encourage you to stop by Japp’s for a good cocktail sometime soon. Even if Molly Wellmann herself is not there to mix you up a drink, Charlie and I were there as she instructed her knowledgeable and, may I say, very easy on the eyes bar staff on the night specials. She walked them through not only the recipe but also the history of the day’s drinks. You can be assured of consistent quality and knowledge from anyone behind the bar.