Martinis used to mean two parts gin, one part vermouth and olives. Today, the main sticking point for a martini is that it’s served in a martini glass. At Sweet Basil, they return to the original recipe (though not in the same proportions, due to reasons of flavor). Though it’s a carefully made drink, it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story of the restaurant’s cocktail program. “We’ve headed in a historical speakeasy tradition,” said KJ Williams. “Bartending for all of us (at Basil) has evolved. We’ve all worked at places where we poured draft beers, where it was more of a job. But when we think about serving a drink, we start out with research.” Everything is considered, down to the garnish and whether it’s served as a slice or a twist. Though Williams and his crew are seduced by history, they’re enlivening the present with it. You’ll find no sour mix behind the bar, but you will find passionate mixologists eager to share.
The Terra Bistro crew is so excited about the gin and ginger drink, they named it after the restaurant. The Terratini combines gin and essence of ginger to make a , if not exactly healthful, then at least invigorating, drink. At Russell’s, the secret to the martini’s popularity has very little to do with the vodka or stemware. Russell’s is famous for sassy bartenders.