“The cocktail first made its way to South America thanks to traveling Yanquis (Americans) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who took a taste for mixed drinks with them wherever they went. When these Americans arrived in Uruguay and Argentina, they encountered European immigrants (drawn by opportunities in the lucrative livestock business), who had brought with them their taste for the old world’s complex, herbaceous potables – things like absinthe, vermouth and various amari (digestives). Trade along the Río de la Plata and the Río Paraná would make Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo (as well as the Argentine cities of Rosario and Buenos Aires), a thriving, modern metropolis. It was in this melting pot of the Platine basin that the premier classic cocktail of South America, the San Martín, was forged.
As cocktail historian David Wondrich notes, the San Martín is merely a sweet Martini with a South American accent. And the name? José Francisco de San Martín was one of the foremost libertadores (freedom fighters) of South America. Wondrich contends that ‘when the loud hosannas for the Martini that American drinkers were emitting finally echoed down to the tip of that long and fascinating continent the name [was] heard somewhat differently, “Martini” becoming “Martín”, and if you’ve got a Martín a ‘San’ must surely be lurking in the vicinity’.” – Chad Parkhill
Excerpted with permission from Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2017. Click here to purchase your own copy.
- 45 milliliters (1 1/2 fluid ounces) gin or old tom gin
- 45 milliliters (1 1/2 fluid ounces) sweet red vermouth
- 5 milliliters (1/4 fluid ounces) yellow Chartreuse
- lemon peel, to garnish
- fresh fruit, to garnish (optional)
- Build ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and, optionally, fresh fruits in season.