The Manhattan was a raging success created by bartenders in the late 19th century. The general trend when given a new ingredient was to try it with everything else that was working at the time. Look at the Daisy, the Buck, and the Cobbler; they all can accommodate any spirit that is added to their basic recipe. This led to many cocktails taking on the proportions similar to a Manhattan; equal parts spirit and vermouth, with a sweetening agent and a few dashes of bitters. In the case of the Martinez, the sweetening agent was maraschino liqueur. There may be evidence of a miner on the west coast creating the cocktail, or it being created in New York. The evidence for both, according to historians like David Wondrich, is not overwhelming for or against.
As a cocktail in and of itself, it developed as the Martini developed. Many feel that these two came into being at roughly the same time, but the prevalence of sweet vermouth to dry vermouth at the time may push the Martini's birth date back a little. It was mentioned as a Martinez in Jerry Thomas' 1887 cocktail tome, but there are other mentions of similar cocktails in books before that. It was mentioned as a batched cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), but as the Dry Martini rose in popularity (and malty Old Tom gin became hard to obtain over London Dry), the cocktail most likely fell out of fashion. This recipe was rediscovered as people started to dig into old cocktail books during the cocktail boom,
1.5 oz./ 45 mL Old Tom gin
1.5 oz./ 45 mL sweet vermouth
1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
2 dashed orange bitters
Garnish: Lemon Peel
Pour all of the ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice, and stir until the glass is well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass, add to the cocktail, and enjoy!
I am a fan of the Wet Martini, so I really enjoyed this cocktail. I would go the Jerry Thomas route and use orange curacao instead of the maraschino liqueur, but it gave the cocktail just enough sweetness. The Carpano was very forward as well; maybe Dolin for the next experiment. Watching the evolution of a cocktail is fascinating. Tomorrow's cocktail will show the first shift into the Martini.