Shaken, Not Stirred
Victorious Austin bar ices competition in 50 best martinis list
Anytime there's a "bests" list for cocktails, it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Margarita jokes aside, Esquire has declared the 50 best martinis in America, based on the personal tastes of its reporting team.
According to the online article, these intrepid food and drink experts "spent the past few years sipping hundreds of martinis across the country to find modern classics and the essential, old-school stalwarts." It's hard work, but someone's got to do it, I suppose.
And guess what? Texas can claim two of them.
Austin's very own Small Victory makes the alphabetical list with its titular martini, about which writer Kevin Sintumuang says:
Austin is very much a beer, shot and margarita town. So when I need a break from that–and yes, you need a break from that–I find myself climbing a staircase in a parking garage to find the hidden entrance to Small Victory, where they really know how to make a martini. There’s a flow chart on the menu that will guide you through some personalization. But you can also leave it in the hands of the bartenders, who have dozens of riffs of the martini on hand. Be ready to discover a new favorite.
The other winning Texas tipple is the Golden Martini at Little's Oyster Bar in Houston.
Omar Mamoon says of this martini:
Few things cut the brininess of beautiful bivalves quite like the smooth, ice cold combination of gin and vermouth. At Little's, the addition of grapefruit bitters and chamomile licorice stock adds a complex floral, anisey layer and imparts a beautiful golden hue to the drink.
The Chandelier Martini is crowned the inaugural martini of the year. You can find it at the Chandelier Bar inside the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, and here are some cool facts about it:
- It's served in a coupe glass made from the same crystal as the bar's famous chandelier.
- It went through 17 iterations before landing on its current recipe.
- It's made of a blend of three gins.
- It gets stirred 24 times.
- It's served with a second glass containing lemon peel, Castelvetrano olives, and pickled Louisiana mirliton on a bed of crushed ice.
Sintumuang calls it "an innovative martini that very much plays within the traditional rules," but perhaps more taste-testing needs to be done at Small Victory to be sure it's not the true winner.