Martini, Please

Next time you shimmy up to a bar, think about ordering a true martini to mix things up a bit — just make sure it’s done right.
Text by David C. Cleland | June 19, 2018 | Lifestyle

There’s no cocktail that screams sex appeal louder than the martini. Just to clarify, I’m talking about a real martini, so if it has anything other than “mar” in front of the “tini,” it’s not the real deal. Of course, there are many ways to drink a real martini — whether with gin, vodka, a twist, or with plenty of olives and very dirty. Unfortunately, a bad martini is terrible, and that’s what I had my first time.
I’d just moved to Miami and was wearing a new suit for the first time since prom at a fancy charity party. Feeling very James Bond-ish, I strutted up to the bar and asked for a martini. The bartender lazily threw 2 ice cubes into a shaker, splashed in some vodka I wouldn’t serve to my worst enemy, gave it a paltry two shakes, strained it to the very top of a room-temperature cocktail glass, and plopped in a sad-looking olive. Never being very good at balancing a liquid plate on a stick, I quickly sloshed a good half measure onto my hand. With my face already red from a mix of embarrassment, frustration and dread, I took a quick gulp and coughed. I never took a second sip. But I have trudged on and learned that a properly made martini is a thing of beauty.
Although the origins are cloudy, it’s generally accepted that the martini originated in the U.S. in the late 19th Century. Originally made with equal parts gin and vermouth, the biggest change the cocktail has undergone over the years is the amount of vermouth used, which has steadily decreased over time to the point where many insist that no vermouth at all should be added. In fact, Winston Churchill was said to have whispered the word “vermouth” to every glass of martini he received, his way of trying to get the drink to transform into a true martini.
There are plenty of great places in Miami to get a martini including Blackbird Ordinary and Edge, Steak & Bar in Brickell, which are flexing their cocktail muscles with excellent results. The new Bar Centro @ SLS Hotel and Blues Bar @ The National Hotel are also known to make some mean martins. Over in Key Biscayne, it’s hard to best the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne for luxury and precisely-made drinks.For those who prefer to imbibe at home, it’s hard to top Nolet’s Finest Gin with a twist, stirred (yes, stirred) with plenty of ice.
It may take some practice to look sophisticated when drinking a martini, but practice makes perfect, so keep them coming.