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Mar 23, 2009 07:17 PM

Where to find the best classic gin martini?

In my youthful 20s I had a friend who introduced me to the classic gin martini. When he and I parted ways I went back to drinking wine only. In the last year or so I've become enamored of the classic martini once again. I've started sampling them all over town. I've found some great ones (Central!) and some really bad ones (you shall remain nameless). I'm just wondering, where can I find a really great classic gin martini? And by the way, I like them neat, and not dirty. And unlike James Bond, I don't care if they're shaken or stirred.

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  1. that's what's so sad: one has to say "a classic gin martini" and still specify further. I don't drink them any more but when I did the only distinction was 'up' and olive or twist.

    note to others: just because it's served in a cocktail glass does not make it a Martini </hrumph>

    steakhouses. old hotels. stuffier the better. had a good one at the Willard back about when I gave them up (round bar).

    2 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      In this town (DC), if you say martini, the waiter or bartender just assumes vodka. Vermouth and vodka? Yeccch! Oh ... that's why they make them very dry.

      I'm still stuck somewhere in the last mid-century. The only martini gin for me is Beefeater.

      By the way, a friend and were very surprised to get a great martini at the bar/restaurant in the Watergate right across from the Kennedy Center parking garage entrance. I keep forgetting the name, but it used to be recycled Dominique's. There's a bartender there who really knows how to make one, and with 3 olives, it was dinner!

      1. re: hill food

        I get you -- too many sweet drinks out there masquerading as 'martinis.' I guess I'm showing my age, but to me, a martini is not a sweet drink. It's a grown-up drink. I definitely get that steakhouses could serve a good one -- since I eat steak about once a year I've missed that opportunity. I'll most certainly be paying a visit to the Round Robin in the near future. Thanks!

      2. I'm thinking the Town and Country, the bar at the Mayflower Hotel.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

            Wow, I haven't been to the bar at the Mayflower since about 1985! Think I'll make a visit there soon -- thanks!

          2. Cafe Montmarte in Reston does a good one - actually turned me on to them.

            I ordered one at Ozio in January. Had to specify that I wanted the classic. Had to specify that I wanted vermouth. The bartender even had the waitress check back with me. She chose to try to sell it to me that there'd barely be a hint of vermouth. I firmly instructed that I prefer a 5-2 ratio - and so the dryness myth can be tossed out - along with the vodka.

            1. I've had excellent wet martinis at Restaurant Eve and PX. Plymouth Gin, two parts gin, one part dry vermouth, half a part sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters. A dash of olive brine if you want it FDR style.

              2 Replies
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I like a really dry martini, the kind where the bartender waves the vermouth bottle over the glass. And I really don't like olive brine. I think if I ordered the kind of martini I like at PX, Todd would probably throw me out of the place! In fact, I've been to PX and I purposely did not order a martini. Loved the drinks I did have, though.

                1. re: Lauman

                  PX will make your martini whatever way you want: wet, dry, extra dry, Plymouth gin, what have you. Although, I usually steer towards whatever Todd's been experimenting with. His "ex-smoker" cocktail using an extra smokey scotch and a drop of distilled tobacco "tea" was amazing. Last I heard, he was working on a "menthol" version with mint.

              2. The Bombay Club makes a mean gin martini. And it goes famously with their delicious Indian food.