Best Martini (2009)

Hendrick's Gin Martini with Cucumber at Bova Prime

Banish from your mind those newfangled "martinis" sold in the trendy bars by unscrupulous mixologists. You know the ones. Their active ingredient is vodka, and all kinds of weak boozes have been added to the mix to make them taste like Key Lime Pie or an espresso or an Almond Joy. These drinks are often pretty, and they are often tasty. But they are only "martinis," never martinis. A real martini is a pre-Prohibition gin drink with an unapologetically booze-ish flavor. To try one, go to href="">Bova Prime on Las Olas, for there they serve a mighty example of the form. Bova is as upscale as any restaurant on the boulevard — a full meal, plus cocktails, could easily run you $100 — but you'll feel as dapper and happy as any diner if you stop by for just a single Hendrick's martini. Yes, they've got Hendrick's — that wonderfully crisp, cucumber-infused gin in the thick black bottle that looks like it came from an old-world archaeological excavation. They serve it diluted with just a tiny bit of ice water from the cocktail shaker, which emphasizes and excites the gin's rose-petal overtones till they seem to skitter across the tongue. Order mostly dry with a cucumber garnish and discover how good booze can taste when it's not busy tasting like something else.


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