Shaken or stirred? From classic to newfangled, our favorite martinis in NYC never cease to please. We’re embarking on a cocktail adventure inspired by this age-old American tradition in honor of National Martini Day, coming up on June 19th. Happy sipping.
1. Vesper Martini | Polo Bar
It goes without saying that Polo Bar tops our list of current obsessions after taking the NYC dining scene by storm since its opening just a few months back. With a celebrity-studded dining room and an unequaled air of exclusivity, Polo Bar remains among one of the most difficult reservations to secure…unless you’re an Attaché, of course. It is, however, always worth the wait, and the perfect reward is an ice cold martini to kick off the evening. Ralph’s Vesper combines Purity vodka, Monkey 47 gin, and Lillet Blanc, served up with a twist. Now that’s a martini.
2. English Heat | The NoMad
We're not sure what's so English about this one, but it definitely brings the heat. Dry gin, Chambéry dry vermouth, Tuaca, Jalapeño infused agave, and lemon combine for a heavenly-meets-hellish sipping experience. Its tame counterpart, Needle and Thread, errs on the herbal side with a dry gin base accented by salers, absinthe, Chambéry Blanc vermouth, Acqua di Cedro, and a dash of orange bitters. Cheers to that.
3. Rose and Lychee Martini | Rose Bar
When an establishment boasts an entire menu dedicated to martinis, that means serious business. Rose Bar's martini roster makes it nearly impossible to choose just one, so we've done the dirty work (pun intended). This sassy take on the classic is made up of a Hendrick's gin base, and then things get interesting. Factor in rose-infused syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of Angostura bitters served straight up...this one's a recipe for success.
4. Vesper Martini | Bemelman’s Bar at The Carlyle
This straight-up classic will transport its sipper decades back in time. The Vesper Martini pays homage to its namesake (yes, named for that Vesper from Casino Royale) and marries both gin and vodka, perfect for the indecisive martini drinker. We also snagged the recipe to make it at home: combine three measures of Gordon's Gin with one measure of vodka and half a measure of Lillet Blanc, then shake away until ice cold and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
5. Old King Cole | King Cole Bar
While The King Cole Bar & Salon at the St. Regis Hotel is known for its claim to fame as the originator of the Bloody Mary, born in 1934 as the Red Snapper, this classic cocktail lounge makes a mean martini. King Cole Bar’s take on the traditional cocktail straddles the line between martini and negroni, featuring Hendrick’s gin and Martini Rosso, characterized by subtle notes of orange and caramel with a unique perfume of rich, herbal notes. The Old King Cole also incorporates Amaro Nonino, adding an alpine-esque herbal bouquet to the mix along with strong citrus on the nose, complemented by a burnt orange peel garnish. Drink it all in, along with the view of the century-old famed mural framing the bar.