Does anything have more integrity than a well made martini? I would posit that the answer is a resounding "no". I suppose it has much to do with its simplicity. Two ingredients: gin and vermouth. Not much wiggle room in that. There's also its stature as one of the long time classics of cocktail culture. 100+ years and counting. It has seen the posers come and go. Cosmos will have their 15 minutes of bar time, the Tiki craze comes and goes every 10 to 15 years, and the martini just sits their watching it all with a liquid, icy stare. Always read to offer that sage comfort that comes from experience. The other drinks have to respect the martini as well. I mean, who do you think would win a fight between a martini and lemon drop? Exactly!
These thoughts came to my mind as I was sitting at the bar of Portland's Benson Hotel yesterday, enjoying what I happen to consider the cities finest martini, made with the proper respect by a barman who came dressed for the dance in a vest and tie. Tanqueray gin, with a splash of vermouth, served in a soul soothing, generously sized portion, enough left over in a mini carafe snuggled into a tumbler of ice on the side to provide almost another full drink. With an appetizer of three olives strung merrily on a cocktail pick, this is nothing less than a piece of cocktail art. For a very reasonable...especially for a hotel bar...$8, does the wisdom gained from experience come an cheaper?
In case you think the drink above looks a bit different than the description, so lost in reverie was I that I didn't think to take a pic until halfway through!