Underserved is a new recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you're not ordering.
What: White Martinez with Hayman Old Tom Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, orange bitters, and orange peel
Where: Republic, 6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park
What You Should Be Drinking
Every bartender has a few drinks in his or her back pocket that can be summoned for that customer who asks for something new, hence the perfectly assonant term “pocket cocktail.” Republic Bar Manager Brett Robison developed his favorite pocket cocktail, the White Martinez, two years ago while he was mastering the classics. The slightly sweet drink has a criss-crossing genealogy, starting at the top of the family tree with the Martinez, a gin and vermouth concoction speculated to have birthed the martini. Also in the clan: the Flame of Love, made with vodka, sherry, and flaming orange peels; and the White Manhattan, made with white whiskey. Robison gently drags an orange peel through a flame to add theatricality and aroma to the White Martinez experience. “Just the amount of research and homework… and also the fact that it looks so simple when it’s in front of you,” says Robison, “that’s why I appreciate it.”
Why You Should Be Drinking It
“There’s something oddly enticing about a clear drink,” says Robison. “The taste is very different than how it appears. It looks like a martini with an orange peel…But then when you taste it, it’s got both a citrusy and an herbal nose. It’s surprisingly balanced.” Adding to the White Martinez’s novelty: Fire makes a drink—and the drinker—more interesting. “Even people who aren’t necessarily adventurous, you light something on fire, and all the sudden they’re adventurous. I don’t think you have to be all that adventurous to order this one.” Robison only recently put the drink on the menu at Republic. “It’s slowly gaining traction,” he says. “It sparks this whole long conversation about the ingredients and the history. It’s kind of a romantic thing.”
Photo courtesy Republic