Turf Club 1.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Feb 4, 2009

Some cocktail historians believe that the martini was invented at New York's Turf Club in the early 1880s, essentially as a variation on the Manhattan that used gin instead of whiskey.

The original recipe called for Italian vermouth, which probably would have been Martini brand (what Martini & Rossi vermouth was called in 19th-century America and still is today in Europe). Martini vermouth was available in New York beginning in at least the 1860s, suggesting a clear origin of the martini's name.

The key ingredient here is Old Tom Gin, lost for almost a century and recently revived. Hayman's Old Tom Gin is available at Ace Beverage in Northwest Washington.

Servings: 1
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces Old Tom Gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 or 3 dashes aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or Fee Brothers Old Fashion
  • 1 twist of lemon peel, for garnish


Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice. Add the gin, vermouth and bitters to taste. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.

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Recipe Source

From "Imbibe!" by David Wondrich (Penguin, 2007).

Tested by Michael Taylor.

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