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Aug 6, 2009 12:31 PM

Nola Martini Fans??

Searching for the perfect martini in Nola. Well, not "the" perfect, "my" perfect.

Once you get the kind of vodka and dryness right - my most important requirement is that the drink is icy, icy cold.

Usually, bartenders don't seem to get this. I once had a perfect one where they had a mallet and pounded the ice somehow which created slivers of ice. You can get the same result using a stainless shaker - but you have to shake it forever.

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  1. I confess to being unfamiliar with a martini as described but the Windsor Court always did fine by me, the Pre-K Ritz was damn good, Clancy's has always been spot on, Royal Orleans has been famous for years.Many more things go into a good martini than just the ingredients.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hazelhurst

      yep. my favorite place in san diego for martinis was a punk DIY steak shop, The Turf Club. every large shaken martinis would have those perfect ice crystals floating on top... neat place.

      not sure where to find that here. i know Bombay Club has dozens of martini variations on the menu but i havent tried many of them yet.

    2. The temperature of a cocktail usually hits around -7 degrees celsius (which is actually COLDER than ice). Neat, huh? Anyway, its physically impossible for the temperature to drop much below this temperature, and shaking it longer than necessary is simply a matter of diluting the drink. The little slivers of ice on top signify nothing more than that the ice in the shaker broke up and some of it made it on top of your drink. Some people like it there, some don't (i personally find it distracting), but it doesn't mean your drink is colder. And it does mean that your drink is still diluting.

      14 Replies
      1. re: nola17

        It's the vodka part that throws me. An old friend likes Beefeater martinis shaken with the little ice bits but it seems to me to dilute it faster. The Boston Ritz--the real one--made them to his liking. In New Orleans I take them on the rocks. When we still had real ice in town the drink was sublime.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          Ah, martinis at the Boston Ritz. Used to live up there in the 80s, and indeed the martinis at the Ritz were fantastic.

          Down here in NOLA I like the Bombay Club for martinis. My current favorite martini is made w/Hendrick's gin, very dry, garnished with a thin slice of cucumber.

          Chris McMillian (in my opinion, New Orleans' greatest bartender) makes a great martini at the Bar Uncommon in the Pere Marquette Hotel.

          Is it 5 o'clock yet?

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Hazelhurst says wonderful things like "When we still had real ice in town" and "It's the vodka part that throws me." I'm determined to lunch with Hazelhurst some day, and Galatoire's would be my choice, even though they've stopped making real ice.

            Another vote for Bombay Club martinis, and for anything (including martinis) concocted by Chris McMillian. The maestro can do no wrong.

            1. re: hazelhurst

              >>> It's the vodka part that throws me. <<<

              You and me both!

              1. re: zin1953

                Vodka? Why not? Millions prefer vodka over gin despite it being the original martini purist offering.

                Can't vodka lovers get any love? :>)

                1. re: Ambiance

                  I'll just note for the record that James Bond, perhaps the most famous Martini lover, actually had both in his martini. In 1953's Casino Royale, Bond instructs the bartender to make him a "Vesper" martini, which has a mix of Gin and Vodka, and a splash of Lillet, in place of the usual vermouth. Bond's words from the book:

                  "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?"

                  I almost always opt for the classic gin version, but there are certainly days where the juniper element, etc., of the gin does not appeal, and the crisper, cleaner flavor of a well-made vodka just hits exactly the right spot.

                  1. re: Ambiance

                    Methinks thou doth be missing my point . . . ;^)

                    I don't object to vodka being used. I object to people saying "Martini," and automatically presuming it's made with vodka. It is not. A "Martini" is made using gin. On the other hand, a "VODKA Martini" is indeed made using vodka . . . and it can be quite a lovely cocktail.

                    1. re: zin1953

                      Thanks. Duly noted !! Coming down in April..I will be on a mission to find (1) Best Vodka Martini and (2) Best mussels. Last time pitted Herbsaint vs. Bombay Club vs. Bacco's. All wer e good but Bombay won the day

                      1. re: Ambiance

                        I've had better than average mussels at both Adolfo's -- on special, I think -- and Maurepas Foods. One imagines the latter will make a fine vodka martini[*].

                        [*] The proper name of this drink is a kangaroo.

                        1. re: montuori

                          Thanks. Kangaroo. Will start using that. And thanks for the mussels tips....will definitely check out.

                        2. re: Ambiance

                          Bombay Club provided a most excellent Perfect Martini. In many bars this order is construed as a perfect Martini..."Of course we make a perfect Martini"

                          It is more difficult to make a Vodka Martini (in my mind) as it is harder to match the vermouth to vodka proportions as the lighter vodka flavor can be more easily over powered.
                          This can also apply to the standard Martini if you mix with several choices of gin and several choices of vermouth. The differing flavor profiles take different proportions. I'm not always successful but found that I can force myself to drink the failures.

                          1. re: collardman

                            thanks for input ! I have never heard of mixing different gins and vermouth together -- in one drink?? Duh, no, guess you mean drinking several.

                            Vermouth is quite an amazing liquid. How four drops vs. three drops can totally ruin a drink. With the very smooth, sipping vodkas out know, you barely need a drop.

                2. re: nola17

                  I read once that the point of the ice slivers created by hard shaking is that the slivers lightly scratch the tongue and interrior of the mouth, and the alcohol (let's leave gin vs vodka out of this for now) slightly triggers receptors in the scratches. The very slight scratches lead to increasing the pleasure from the drink.

                  I believe this article also conducted a taste test (perhaps the taste test was first, and the explanation of the results second), where martinis (again, not sure if gin or vodka, and irrelevant here) were prepared exactly the same in shakers, and some shaken and some stired. The amount of water dilution was somehow accounted for, so the drinks had the same amount of water from ice in them. They were then poured for lucky taste testers. Most tasters chose the shaken martini, saying the flavor was bolder and crisper. Or something like that.

                  I can't seem to find that article, but after reading it, I thought it made some amount of sense. After all, if an icicle falling from 5 stories can pierce a person, a shard could score a tongue, no? :)

                  1. re: foreverhungry

                    This is quite heretical around here ...but I personally LOVE the conclusions. It all makes sense now - scratched tongue = better taste !

                3. Ordering a vodka Martini is like ordering a "Rum & Coke" only with Bourbon.

                  2 Replies
                    1. I can't and probably wouldn't vouch for their "real" martini's, but Dino's on Tchoupitoulas (almost under the I-10 bridge) has a huge list of really great (and cheap) martinis. The bartenders are mostly girls and very friendly. I've never had a martini there I didn't like. Definitely more of a dive bar though.

                      1. Have you tried the martinis at La Petit Grocery? They used to be 50 cents in the summers during happy hour, which may have made them taste better, but I've always thought they are quite balanced and really cool you down after a hot NOLA day.