The exact origins of the classic Martinez cocktail—a concoction of gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters—are hard to pin down, but it is considered by some sources to be the precursor to the Martini. Dating back to at least the late 1800s, the original Martinez is a richer, fruitier counterpoint to the more austere Martini and makes a great base to riff upon for a cozy, wintertime drink.
Here, Ketel One Vodka is substituted for the traditional gin for a smoothly textured foundation for flavor. I’ve also incorporated a bouquet of classic mulling spices, like the kind you might find in a mulled wine or cider; they’re toasted and infused into the vodka and sweet vermouth, along with fresh orange peels. The spirits act as a solvent for the spices, so there’s no heat needed—most of the extraction happens quickly, making this a drink you can quickly batch up in the event of an impromptu holiday party. A fun bonus: You can serve this drink hot or cold, giving you a range of options depending on your climate and guests. —John deBary
Ceylon cinnamon stick (if available; if not, conventional cinnamon is fine)
(750-milliliter) bottle Ketel One Vodka
(375-milliliter) bottle Italian sweet vermouth
(8 ounces) filtered water
Lemon peel, for garnish
In This Recipe
Combine star anise, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, and almonds in a small saucepan and toast on medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Thoroughly scrub oranges under running water with a clean scrubber sponge or produce brush and dry (you can also use a fruit- and vegetable-safe wash here). Peel oranges and place the peels, along with the toasted spices and almonds, sugar, vodka, and sweet vermouth in a container and let sit for 1 hour.
Strain into a clean container, such as a pitcher, and add the filtered water; discard the spices, almonds, and orange peels. (You can also re-bottle the cocktail into the empty vodka and vermouth bottles, storing the excess in a small container.) Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
To serve, pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Or, for a hot drink, combine ½ cup of the cocktail with ¼ to ⅓ cup boiling water in a heat-proof mug and garnish with a lemon peel.