The 3:1:1 Family of Martini-style Cocktails

A Roma Cocktail, with three strawberriesI have been hard at work researching Martini-style cocktails. It's been grueling, to be sure. You simply can't imagine the variety of cocktails that can reasonably be called Martini-style!

By Martini-style cocktails, I am being very specific. I do not refer to Appletinis and Chocolatinis and Pomegranatinis and Pepperonipizzatinis - no sirree. Consuming even a single one of each of those could well prove lethal. For this research I am restricting my definition to be:

  • a cocktail served straight-up in a cocktail glass
  • it is mixed with iced and strained
  • the base liquor is gin
  • it includes only dry and/or sweet vermouth as a mixer
  • it can include up to 3 dashes Angostura or orange bitters
  • it can have a reasonable garnish

Kup's Indispensable CocktailEven within that seemingly narrow class there is a great range of options, and they are not (contrary to what you might expect) so similar as to be essentially indistinguishable.

That brings me to the 3:1:1 family. According to a book that Richmond gave me, and supported by my old friend Mr Boston, I find a curious phenomenon. There are many, many recipes that call for gin mixed over ice with equal proportions of Sweet and dry Vermouth. I never see this in bars today, but in the literature there are many recorded recipes with this peculiar feature that Sweet and Dry Vermouth in equal proportions form an essential part of the cocktail.

How long has this been going on?! What have I been missing all these years?! What bewitching potion is formed by mixing those staid standbys of the classic Martini and the Manhattan in equal quantities?

Even within that huge clan of cocktails that use gin in various proportions to a mix of equal part sweet and dry vermouth, there is a family of not fewer than 8 cocktails that call for 1 1/2 oz Dry Gin to 1/2 each Sweet and Dry Vermouth.

(All my researches use Martini and Rossi Dry Vermouth and Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth. Things might be very different with a different brand.)

It's like this:


Name Gin Dry Verm Sweet Verm  A-Bitters O-Bitters  Garnish  Crocker   1.5 .5 .5  -  -  - Farmer's 1.5  .5   .5 2d  -  - Merry-go-Round  1.5 .5 .5   -  - olive & twist Kup's Indispensable  1.5  .5 .5  1d  -  - Wild Rose   1.5 .5 .5   1d  1d  - RCA Special  1.5  .5  .5  -  2d orange peel Rolls-Royce  1.5 .5 .5    2d of Benedictine  -  Roma  1.5  .5  .5  -  -  3 strawberries shaken in