What is it about the martini mystique? The shape of the glass. The gentle, cold condensation that sensuously slides down the side. The first bite of the alcohol which tempts, if not original sin, at least a suggestive path down a morally winding road.
A martini requires balance to gently lift it to a perfectly lacquered pout. Reaching one’s head down to slurp like a horse at a trough is highly discouraged. It is perfectly feminine, yet there is nothing frail about it.
A martini suggests formality. You would not drink it wearing yoga pants or last night’s mascara. A chipped manicure holding onto the stem simply wouldn’t do. It is also an adult drink. The fact that such a thing as Skittles and Froot Loops are acceptable flavors (they actually exist) is heresy. One does not chug, pound, or shoot a martini. It is in no rush.
A cocktail that has a history of love, espionage, and war deserves attention and respect. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “The only way to make a martini is with ice-cold gin and a bow in the direction of France.” The martini also secured its place on Madison Avenue. My father was an ad man and spoke of the legendary Joe & Rose’s restaurant. He joked that its popularity was due to the fact that when it was suggested that it be only a one martini lunch, they would obligingly serve a large pour in a beer mug.
One of my favorite stories is “The Riddle of the Shadow Martini,” about a secret destination in the desert where they serve a martini so dry the bartender simply passed the bottle of vermouth between the drink and the setting sun.
When the setting is as important as the martini, the place to go is Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court in Palm Beach. The bar blends the perfect mix of tradition with a splash of modern, aglow from below. This is home to the queen of martinis, the White Cosmopolitan. Daniel Boulud himself has called this the sexiest cocktail ever. His head bartender Xavier Herit at Daniel in NYC came up with the creation, giving a dose of the extraordinary to the common cosmo with St. Germain elderflower liqueur (notes of lychee and exotic fruit) and white cranberry juice (less acidic than red) with a beautiful organic orchid encased in a sphere of ice in the middle, a truly Instagram-able moment. The orb also is functional as it chills the martini without dilution. (Insider tip: it perfectly pairs with the hamachi and crispy rice.)
Anyone who knows me knows I like everything to be pretty. Life is either too short or too long to not enjoy aesthetic pleasures. So even if my fingers are not bejeweled, holding the White Cosmopolitan brings a regal air to the equation in this elegant setting. A snapshot of a perfect moment of enjoyment and gratitude. A slow, sensuous sip, a tongue tickled with sweet and sour topped with a floral note, a peer into the suspended orchid then over the rim to the possibilities held in the room. With this martini in front of you, you will be noticed.