When it comes to cocktail genealogy, the martini has a pedigree that's as murky as that of a stray dog. Nobody knows for sure when or where it was created (be suspicious of those who say they do) and the annals of late 19th and early 20th century mixology are full of assorted prototypes and variations that are part of the martini's extensive family tree.
Here's one that's kind of fun: the Turf Club Cocktail. There are several versions of this drink floating around the old books, and it was certainly being mixed and poured before the dry martini settled into its identity.
This recipe is adapted from the one that appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930, and listed in an Imbibe feature about gin I wrote for the magazine's current issue. The drink was suggested to me by Eric Alperin from The Varnish in Los Angeles--it has a suave potency of flavor and rightly demonstrates gin's appealing qualities. Not that a good gin needs any help in the lovability department.
Turf Club Cocktail
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
- 1/4 ounce maraschino
- 1 dash absinthe
- 1 dash orange bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for around 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a small piece of lemon peel over the drink and drop the twist in as garnish.