If you look closely you can see them: the telltale shards of ice floating on the surface of your martini at Bob's Steak and Chop House on Lemmon Avenue. The bar is dim and dark, and martinis are the precursor of choice to meals that often feature massive cuts of beef plus carrots fit for horses.
Before James Bond, this cocktail was always stirred not shaken, as agitation has a tendency to cloud a drink. But back then vermouth was used in equal proportion to gin, and had a lot more character than the sweet and dry versions lurking behind most bars these days.
Now vermouth is uncouth. The fortified wine has been reduced decade-by-decade until the suggested method of adding the aperitif is by way of atomizer, if it's used at all. What's stranger is olive brine has replaced vermouth as a savory means of dilution, sometimes in puckering quantities, while vodka has replaced gin as the innocuous spirit of choice.
At Bob's the drinks are neither shaken nor stirred. Instead the bow-tied bartenders pump long bar spoons up and down in stainless steel shakers like maids churning butter. The results are a boozy liquid with tiny shards of ice like glitter suspended throughout the drink.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Say what you want about dirty martinis, there is none colder than the one served at Bob's.