There was a time, roughly sandwiched between the 1980s and early 2000s, when anything served in a stemmed glass was called a Martini. Bartenders created all manner of drinks under this umbrella, from modern-classics like the Espresso Martini and Appletini to lesser cocktails that fell by the wayside.
Most had nothing in common with the classic cocktail (gin, dry vermouth, maybe a dash or two of bitters), save for the vessel in which it was served. The Tequila Martini is the unique variation that goes in a new direction while paying homage to the original.
This recipe comes from blogger and recipe developer Matt Armato and features blanco tequila, blanc vermouth, lemon juice and orange bitters. The unaged tequila puts earthy agave notes front and center, while the blanc vermouth—which is sweeter and more floral than dry vermouth—provides that kick of aromatized wine you want in a Martini. The scant quarter ounce of lemon juice, clearly a sharp turn from the classic all-spirits drink, adds a touch of acid and balance, while the orange bitters bring additional structure and citrus. All those ingredients are shaken together, which isn’t a Bond-like faux pas, but rather the proper technique for any cocktail containing juice.
Sure, the Tequila Martini is a far cry from the gin-based original. But this punchy version provides its own charms without straying so far from the classic formula to render it unrecognizable. So you can feel confident making one for yourself and all your Martini-drinking friends.
- 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
- 3/4 ounce blanc vermouth
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the tequila, blanc vermouth, lemon juice and bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with lemon twist.