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BEST MARTINI

Durant's

The classic martini -- not those pink, blue and yellow frou-frou concoctions that bottle blondes imbibe at chichi clubs -- has had many champions: everyone from FDR and Richard Nixon to W.C. Fields and James Bond. But we'd like to cop a quote from surrealist director Luis Bu--uel, who wrote in his memoir My Last Sigh that the making of a dry martini "should resemble the Immaculate Conception," especially when it comes to adding the vermouth. At Durant's, if you don't watch carefully, you'll miss the barkeep's addition of that "whisper" of vermouth to your martini. See, everything is done traditionally here. The glass is chilled, and the martini itself is stirred, not shaken, to prevent the "bruising" of the gin, which supposedly happens when too much water gets into the damn thing. Normally, you get two fat olives as a garnish, unless you're one of those oddballs partial to Gibsons, in which case you get two cocktail onions. (We won't even go into those heathens who prefer vodka over gin.) See, in the case of the martini, its beauty is that of a simple thing done well, and that's a lot harder to find these days than you might expect. Unless, of course, you go looking for it at Durant's. Readers' Choice: AZ 88

 
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