Tuxedo cocktail

Clinton Cawood dusts off the storied Martini-twist the Tuxedo.

Martini variations that give vermouth its proper due are always worth exploring, particularly when they’ve been kicking about for more than a century.

Unlike the jacket that it shares a name with, the Tuxedo is a versatile number, suited to a variety of occasions.

The earliest recorded version, in Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual from 1900, calls for equal parts Old Tom gin and dry vermouth, joined by dashes of maraschino, absinthe and orange bitters, but none of these have proven to be sacred when it comes to the various incarnations that came after.

Dry gin replaced Old Tom soon enough, although both make excellent versions of this drink. Some inspired incarnations have employed sherry, most likely something dry like fino, either together with or in place of vermouth.

There’s a lot of Tuxedo history to dive into, with its evolution over the years resulting in various numbered variations, not to mention its fair share of spin-offs.

Then there’s the Tuxedo Club in New York State, giving its name to both the cocktail and the jacket.

At the very least, it’s a classic that offers plenty of inspiration for switching up your Martini ratios, and considering a few subtle additions, whether that’s maraschino or sherry.