Cocktails & Spirits

Memo to Fort Lauderdale: There is Only One Tini.

On yesterday's Food and Wine blog, "Mouthing Off" posts, "5 Signs You've Picked a Bad Restaurant." It's a list I would have agreed with in the past, but might second guess now that I live here, where people's tastes are, well, different. Number one on the list of signs you've picked a bad restaurant? "There's more than one drink that ends in -tini."

Fort Lauderdale, for whatever reason loves its -tinis. Aside from Blue Martini, I've seen laundry lists of them at places such as M Bar and DIG, unless they've been nixed since my last visit. 

There really is only one -tini: a dry, gin martini. Says cocktail columnist for The Atlantic Monthly, Derek Brown, "the dry martini is, for me, both eternal and divine--what Bernard

Devoto called, '...the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet.'" And yet.

The dry martini is as scarce as it is ubiquitous, both everywhere yet nowhere made with proper sacrament. How can it be the greatest of all cocktails? It's more often a warm bowl of vodka, with two slimy devils plucked by hand from warm brine and tossed in the felonious soup, or worse: a suffix tacked on a fruit, color, animal, mineral, or vegetable. Terrible. 

An aside on vodka and its current identity crisis. Author of Boozehound, Jason Wilson, Philly resident, beer columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle and drinks columnist for The Washington Post, has maligned vodka on numerous occasions. Before a vodka tasting he wondered, "Would we be tied to chairs and made to sniff herring and listen to Abba at high volume until we finally cracked and declared, on captured video, that we loved vodka?" 

I share Wilson's distain for vodka. I'd rather pony up to the bar and order a wine cooler and sip it with a straw.

Brown instructs that a martini should be made with gin for the "primordial" qualities of juniper and accompanying botanicals. And as for vermouth, "Forget the posturing of literary types who practiced the rinse method, used droppers or waved the bottle past the glass: they no more had a martini than gnawing on a leg of a live cow is dining on a steak."  His martini is made with equal parts gin and Dolin Dry Vermouth and a dash of orange bitters. His runner up is a ratio of 2 and 1/4oz. gin to 3/4oz. vermouth.

Where can one find a bartender in these parts to make such a beauty? Preferably in a bar or restaurant that does not feature a list of -tinis.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart