Who knows for certain where or when this drink originated. Regardless, it's certainly made the rounds over the past century.
The San Martin first cropped up in bar manuals in 1922, when a slim volume called Cocktails: How to Mix Them listed it as "a well-known South American drink." While it appeared under a slightly altered name in the 1930s, it popped up again in 1951 in Charles H. Baker's South American Gentleman's Companion. After sleeping for much of the rest of the century, the San Martin eventually wandered into some of today's craft-cocktail bars, where it continues to hang out as a B-string classic cocktail.
It's not surprising that the San Martin made its reappearance as part of the cocktail revival—it's tasty enough and simple enough to satisfy most any classic-cocktail enthusiast. The question is why it hasn't played a bigger role.
Eclipsed by close cousins like the Bijou or the Martinez, the San Martin features a delicate botanical interplay between its three ingredients. When the mood for a crisp yet complex cocktail comes upon you, the San Martin will satisfy the craving.
- 1 1/2 ounces dry gin
- 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
- 1 teaspoon yellow Chartreuse
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for at least 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use as garnish.