The Birth of the Martini is a bit of a mystery but it is very likely that The Martinez was the true beginnings of this King of Cocktails.
The Martinez cocktail can be traced back to the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco in the year 1862. The story goes that the bartender at the Occidental at the time, Jerry Thomas*, made the drink for a gold miner heading out to the small town of Martinez, California.
Thomas' book, The Bon Vivant's Companion published in 1887, offers the first print version of the Martinez which consisted of 1 dash of Boker's Bitters, 2 dashes of Maraschino liqueur, 1 Pony of Old Tom gin, 1 wine glass of Vermouth, garnished with a slice of lemon and an optional dash or so of gum syrup for extra sweetness.
I personally love a Martinez, finding it more complex and interesting than a Martini.
(Note my personal preferences in the parentheses.)
1-1/2 Oz. Old Tom Gin
1-1/2 Oz. Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1/4 Oz. Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 Dashes Angoustura Bitters (Orange)
Garnish: Orange Twist, Luxardo Cherry
Stir ingredients with ice until chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish and serve.
If you prefer your cocktails a bit dryer try replacing the Cinzano sweet vermouth with Punt E Mes. If you want it definitely dryer drop the sweet vermouth to 3/4 an ounce and add 3/4 an ounce of dry vermouth like Noilly Prat.
VOICEOVER VIDEO WITH INGREDIENTS AND DIRECTIONS:
*Jeremiah "Jerry" P. Thomas (1830 - 1885) is considered the "father of American Mixology" and is often referred to as The Professor.