910 Prospect Street, La Jolla
Knowing a lot about a lot and enough about the rest, Nine-Ten’s sommelier and food and beverage manager Summer Haines is a wearer of many hats.
To help the bar’s hotel — the Grande Colonial — celebrate its centennial last year, Haines pulled from her sommelier hat some clever sleight that blended the best of vintage and proof with a series of barrel-aged cocktails.
Among these 2 ½ gallon barrels of fun, each aged 100 days in the fashion of fine wines, Haines says, the Martinez made a particularly loud splash among Nine-Ten’s clientele.
Some consider the Martinez to be the late 19th century Martini’s mid-19th century harbinger; while acknowledging that it shares the basic gin-and-vermouth DNA of its more famous cousin, others say it ought to be taken on its own terms.
A sweeter, more complex concoction than the binary Martini, the Martinez, as Haines notes, hits all the same notes that nose and palate would be looking for in a wine goblet – with herbs and acids and berries and bitters and bouquet and body and finish and….
“It’s nice and fresh with the herbaceous notes from the genever’s juniper,” she says, “and the lemon keeps it nice and bright while the Luxardo Maraschino Cherry liqueur rounds it out. We try to make a nicely balanced cocktail and you should have aspects of each, like a nice wine. It should have a body and substance to it, rounded out with a nice touch of acid coming from the lemon. It shouldn’t be just one note, but have different levels of flavor complexity to it.”
At the moment, Nine-Ten doesn’t have the Martinez in a barrel, Haines says, but she’ll be glad to give the drink the barrel treatment again.
“I have a barrel we just emptied and it would be great to bring it back,” she says.
How to make it
Fill a cocktail tin with ice and pour:
- • 1 oz. Bols Genever
- • ½ oz. Vermouth
- • ½ oz. Luxardo
- • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
- • 1 Squeeze of Fresh Lemon
Shake, strain into cocktail glass and serve with a lemon twist for garnish.
The fresh version will lack, according to Summer Haines, the subtle vanilla flavor and slight oxidation imparted by the barrel method, but for all that it remains substantially identical to the barreled version.