We’re going back a little bit further, pulling a gem out of the Waldorf Astoria Cocktail Book called the Ballantine Cocktail. The general gist is take a martini and add some orange bitters and a dash of a strongly aromatic liquor.
Firstly, for the uninitiated the difference is rather subtle. The additional ingredients don’t add a ton the traditional martini formula. But for those tuned into their liquors, you may appreciate the touch of bitterness added from the new ingredients.
Absinthe or Pastis? This appears to be the biggest difference of opinion between our three sources. I’m positing that the reason for Pastis in the more modern recipes is because Absinthe was not very common or accessible in the states until rather recently. The Absinthe revival, will probably restore that liquor’s precedence in this recipe, as I’m assuming based on the sources that the original source is the Waldorf Astoria’s Cocktail Book.
The ratio of Gin:Vermouth in the original resembles the early 20th century ratio which was closer to equivalence than we see in the modern bar where often times a “wet” martini is 5:1 gin: vermouth.