Why Award-Winning Mixologist, Marvin Martinez, Thinks the Negroni is the Perfect Cocktail
What I Drink is a series featuring legendary bartenders to learn about how they got started, what they love to drink and discover their go-to cocktail recipes.
The whole of Latin America seems to be bursting with great cocktails, and Guatemala's Marvin Martinez is one of the mixologists representing his country in the emerging scene. After getting his start serving beer, he learned the craft through studying everything he could find online. In 2015, he won the nation's World Class title and was able to travel to South Africa for the global competition. He's now a brand representative for Tanqueray No. 10 Guatemala, Tequila Don Julio, Ketel One, Ciroc and Johnnie Walker, and working on a craft gin of his own. Here, he talks more about his background and favorite cocktails.
When did you know you wanted to work behind the bar?
I knew I wanted to be a bartender ever since I first entered a bar. I loved what they did. Bartenders not only serve a cocktail, they also have fun at work.
What's the inspiration behind your cocktails?
My cocktails are always inspired by my experiences. What also inspires me are my country and its diversity of flavors and aromas, people coming and letting me know they like my work—that translates into inspiration, into passion to continue creating new experiences for my clients and friends. I think the inspiration also comes not only from the enthusiasm to create something, but having to study and learn more. I always think if you don't study, life behind the bar is not one of love.
Which cocktail that you've developed in your career is your favorite, and why?
My favorite cocktail that I've created is called "Tanqueray Fitzgerald." It is named after my dog, "Sir Fitzgerald" (I know it's a weird name for a dog, but my girlfriend chose it). The cocktail has a great balance, with flavors like grapefruit and ginger beer, and a touch of agave nectar.
What's your favorite classic cocktail, and why?
Really, with classic cocktails, I like almost all of them. But among my favorites is the daiquiri. It's a cocktail that represents the Latin American culture very well with its flavor and freshness. On the other hand, the negroni seems to me a perfect cocktail for any night—party, dinner, casual meeting, meeting friends, heartbreak. Any occasion is a good one for a negroni.
It's why I always say, "Where there are cocktails, there will always be friends, and where there are friends, you can never skip cocktails."
What's a super-easy recipe that someone can re-create at home?
I'll leave you my recipe for Tanqueray Fitzgerald, because I like to see pictures of my cocktail made by people from elsewhere in the world who say they like it without knowing me—that's mixology, creating friendships or relationships worldwide.
- 1 1/2 ounces Tanqueray Ten
- 2 ounces grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce agave nectar
- 4 to 6 spearmint leaves, macerated
- 2 cloves, macerated
- Ginger beer
Shake and double strain to serve over ice, top with ginger beer. Garnish with a mint sprig.