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The small town of Martinez, California, proclaimed that bartender Julio Richelieu mixed the first Martinez-a small drink with an olive dropped in it-which became the Martini. Richelieu left for San Francisco, making the Martinez his specialty. This was prior to 1887. In fact, Jerry Thomas had included a Gin Cocktail that resembled the Martini in The Bon Vivant's Guide, published in 1862. By 1887, the gin cocktail had become the Martinez, and Thomas was claiming credit.
The myth continues: a traveler walked into the San Francisco Occidental Hotel bar and Thomas mixed him the first Martinez. But the people of Martinez claim the traveler was on his way to San Francisco from Julio's bar. Richelieu mixed the cocktail for him so he could get change from a gold nugget-to buy a bottle of whiskey. In 1929, the town erected a brass plaque stating that Martinez was the birthplace of the Martini.
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