Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dry Martini, Barcelona, Spain

Dry Martini is a funny name for a cocktail bar, I reckon.  This is mostly because it's not really the name of a cocktail bar, it's the name of a drink.  And not just any old drink, quite possibly the most famous cocktail of all time.  If you're going to name yourself after the world's most renowned drink, you'd better be damn sure you know how to make a good one.

Fortunately, for Dry Martini, they do.  Oh, they do.

Dry Martini bills itself as a bit of a speakeasy joint.  Before that sends you running for the hills – and who wouldn’t, given just how many 'speakeasy' abomination bars there are out there, especially in the trendy zones, like Greenwich Village in NYC or Hoxton in London – I can safely say it's not like your average speakeasy.  Largely because, however much you want it to be like a speakeasy, it just isn’t.  Oh no, this is the Gentlemen's Club style of bar, and it pulls it off with aplomb.  Oak panelling covers every surface, the bar is shrouded in perfect white, starched linens, the floors are marble, the lighting is low, and every singly instrument used by the staff to mix, stir or shake your drink is solid silver.

By the way, you see that digital counter there?  That's a live counter of every dry martini they've ever served.  Wish I'd been there for number 1,000,000.

But faffing aside, we were here for one thing: a dry martini.

Mixed with Bombay Sapphire as standard (although you're welcome to ask for something different if you'd like) and the tiniest dash of French vermouth, it is then stirred – not shaken, which dilutes the drink something rotten – before being strained into glasses fresh out of the freezer.  Then there's a spritz of lemon peel (but not the peel itself) and a salty green olive gets popped in there.

Is it any good?  Yes.  It's bloody marvellous.

(This was martini number 1,044,562, by the way.)

There is no menu, which is a bit of a pain, but then I reckon – genuinely – that you could call out the name of any cocktail – certainly the name of any of the classics – and they'd know how to make it for you.  And I say that because, for our next round, we decided to test them. GrubsterGirl ordered up her soft-spot drink, a margarita, whilst I opted for a Vesper – a personal favourite of mine.  The Vesper was perfectly executed – especially with the inclusion of Cocci Americano, a slightly more herbal and bitter vermouth more reminiscent of the Kina Lillet Ian Fleming intended, rather than the modern Lillet Blanc.


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