Celebrating the Melbourne Cup | Recipe | Martini Henry cocktail

27 Oct 2021
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Thanks to COVID-19, Aucklanders are going to be spending Melbourne Cup Day a little differently to usual this year – sadly not here at Ellerslie and most likely at home in the company of their ‘bubble’.

Our Martini Henry cocktail is the perfect Melbourne Cup refresher


However, while you can’t be trackside to celebrate the running of the great race – you can still enjoy a slice of Ellerslie at home with this recipe for our infamous Melbourne Cup Day cocktail – The Martini Henry.

Exclusively served in our Martini Henry Lounge on the first Tuesday in November each year, this year we’re letting the recipe out of the starting gates to help up the stakes of your at-home Melbourne Cup celebrations.

Keep reading to find out about the drink’s namesake and how you can recreate our delicious Melbourne Cup cocktail at home.

1883 Melbourne Cup winner, Martini Henry, who our Melbourne Cup cocktail is named after


First things first, who was Martini-Henry?

Martini-Henry, a thoroughbred colt who was reportedly a “picture of equine perfection”, made New Zealand’s sporting history books when winning the 1883 Melbourne Cup in front of a crowd of about 100,000 people.

Not only did he become the first New Zealand-bred horse to win the big race, but the first overseas-bred one too – not bad for only his second-ever race start!

Foaled in 1880 by Musket out of the mare Sylvia (by Fisherman), the strapping horse’s Cup win at the age of three was one of just four career wins that also included the 1883 Victoria Derby (his first race start), 1883 VRC Mares’ Produce and 1884 St Leger Stakes.

On 12 November 1883 in their wrap-up of the day’s Melbourne Cup, the Grey River Argus reported that:


“Martini-Henry, going well, drew away from the rest and, increasing his lead, romped home an easy winner…


Martini-Henry was ridden in the Cup race [today] by jockey Williamson, and never whipped from start to finish.”



Martini-Henry’s final race start came in the 1884 Caulfield Cup where he failed to finish the race due to a leg injury. He was retired from racing after that and went on to stand at stud.

Now for our Martini Henry cocktail recipe…



Tag us via @ellerslieraces when you recreate your own Martini Henry cocktail and we may just show off your efforts to our friends on social media!



While we’re no longer racing on 2 November here at Ellerslie, we’ve still got a lot of great Melbourne Cup content to come as Australasia leads up to the “great race”.

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