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Jan 30, 2008 07:24 AM

Seeking: best gin martinis in Manhattan

Hi. My friend's birthday is this weekend and I wanted to take him out for drinks. He's picky about his martinis and loves places where the gin is either frozen or kept very cold (Cipriani, Bar Centrale). Are there any places that you would recommend that do something similar?


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  1. This request is trickier than you would think because the current generation of cocktail purists (I'm thinking the Flatiron Lounge/Pegu Club/Employees Only folk) do not keep the gin cold. They consider the water from the melted ice a crucial component. I'm married to a frozen-gin martini enthusiast and it's hard to find at the nicer cocktail lounges.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bml

      Don't know where they keep the gin, but my first though for a classic martini was the Four Seasons, if price is not an object.

      1. re: Stuffed Monkey

        I agree- the Four Seasons has a great gin martini. I always order the Bombay Martini.

    2. I don't think I've seen gin cold or frozen anywhere, but Temple Bar on Bleecker makes a very fine martini, as does the bar at the Essex House, and Little Giant on the LES (not a place for drinks only, though). I'm partial to Plymouth & Hendricks; the above have either or both. Do we have to specify a gin martini now? That makes me sad.

      2 Replies
      1. re: small h

        Yep, pretty much, gotta specify gin for a martini nowadays, or else these whippersnappers think you mean vodka. I like Hendrick's or Sapphire myself.

        Not from frozen gins, but damn cheap martinis can be found at Sapa (in Flatiron) during their happy hours (until 7:30 even on weekends) for $5.

        To you old school martini lovers: should a proper martini be stirred and not shaken, as to not bruise the liquor and leave ice chips in it?

        1. re: panoz

          I never had an opinion re shaken vs. stirred until I had a martini at Essex Restaurant, which was shaken so vigorously that it became more of a martini slush. In case you're wondering whether this is a good idea for a slush: no. That said, I don't order martinis stirred, because I feel like enough of a twit already with my Plymouth-martini-straight-up-very-dry-extra-olives nonsense.

        1. re: offthebeatenpath1

          Totally agree. Bemelmans.

          Bombay, straight up, dry, with three olives.


          1. re: BlueHerons

            I adore Bemelman's. I remember someone recently posting about their "special drinks" and being disappointed, but as far as I'm concerned, Tommy still makes the best "straight" cocktails around!

        2. Try Del Frisco...they make a great martini

          1. Have you ever had Old Raj gin? I had it at Northwest restaurant on the UWS. It is so, so good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sed231

              Don't want to highjack this thread but if you like Old Raj then find some Bulldog, currently my favorite gin.

              In regards to the OP, check into Cafe des Artistes. I was just there on Friday and I wouldn't be surprized if they wouldn't be willing to accomocate you.