I’m introducing the thinking drinkers at work to an early style (possibly original) Martini from 1884. It’s partly to celebrate the reintroduction of Old Tom Gin (sweeter, thicker than a London Dry or Plymouth) which has been missing from the US market since Prohibition. Hayman’s now distributes this wonderful spirit widely.
Bartender Jerry Thomas isn’t too clear in his books of the era about which bitters to use. David Wondrich suggests Angostura. I was leaning toward orange bitters. Over many difficult nights of mixing/drinking I wasn’t producing a definitive conclusion. It was time to mix a few and taste them side by side.
I made the drinks with Angostura, Fee Brothers Orange, and Peychaud’s. My favorite: Peychaud’s.
(From Imbibe! by David Wondrich)
Martini Formula #1
3 OR 4 DASHES OF BITTERS
ONE-HALF WINE GLASS [1 1/2 OZ] OF TOM GIN
ONE-HALF WINE GLASS [1 1/2OZ] OF (SWEET) ITALIAN VERMOUTH
Fill glass three quarters full of fine ice, stir well with spoon and strain in fancy cocktail glass, then serve
Source: How to Mix Drinks — Bar-Keeper’s Handbook, 1884