Best Martini (2004)
The Library at the Melrose Hotel
We're purists. A martini can contain only three ingredients: gin, vermouth and a garnish. It's the quintessential sophisticate cocktail, with subtle but sublime flavors--crisp and bracing, herbal and aromatic. Made carelessly, however, a fine martini can become a slurry of gin and ice. Good martinis come from bartenders who ask questions: How dry? Rocks or up? What garnish? What gin? And (despite the 007 cliché) shaken or stirred? Weary of bad martinis served by the cavalier, we've taken to giving orders. The cocktail served us at the sophisticated but comfortable Library Bar came just as we ordered: clear as a diamond, in a pre-chilled glass, an exquisite medium-dry martini, up with a twist, stirred. It made us think of a line from Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: "I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized."
Cool River's strawberry shortcake
1045 Hidden Ridge Road, Irving