Shaken, stirred or slightly modified, the martini is an American classic. Made popular by everyone from James Bond to Carrie Bradshaw and the gang, there’s hardly a more fashionable drink around. However, the trick for the casual barfly is making the martini more approachable. These Plymouth barkeeps have experimented and mixed their way to six different steps in the same martini dance. Raise your glass, and enjoy these flavor-friendly recipes. (As ever, imbibe responsibly.)
Sometimes, presenting the customer with the original recipe is so plainly simple, it immediately becomes a savvy move. Old Chicago keeps that Midwest attitude of “keep it simple” by mixing your choice of Beefeater, Tanqueray, Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire gin with sweet vermouth, and you’re in business (all martinis start at $6.25). Use that extra brainpower otherwise spent on ordering a complicated drink to enjoy an eclectic appetizer. The fried spicy pickles with red pepper dipping sauce will give your taste buds plenty to work with while sipping a strong drink ($4.29). There’s nothing wrong with not being the least bit fancy.
Lucky’s 13 Pub
The best alcoholic beverages don’t turn you into a character, they just have character. Lucky’s Cunning Monkey cocktail fits the bill—with a clever name to boot. Skipping the traditional gin and vermouth, Lucky’s bartenders mix this drink with Plantation five-year rum and banana liqueur. Pineapple syrup and Velvet falernum are next, adding a swirl of island sweetness. What’s falernum, you might ask? A Caribbean collection of lime, ginger, almond, vanilla and clove flavors make up the family of secret ingredients. Top this exquisite drink with a caramelized banana slice, and you can sip on all the flavors of a vacation cruise. Or, if you’re looking to dial down the sweet, the Velvet Hammer is the drink for you. Exquisitely blending Tattersail Gin, Pimm’s No. 1 and spiced orange syrup, this drink is smooth and brusque, just like its namesake. $8.50 each.
Fox Run Martini
Rock Elm Tavern
Rock Elm Tavern is quickly making a name for itself as the coolest bar in town. Bolstered by a lively staff with clever cocktail creations, owner Troy Reding is determined to bring a big city downtown vibe to Plymouth. “The neighbors wanted their own martini,” says Reding, referring to the Fox Run neighborhood from which the drink takes its name. Greenall’s gin and St. Germain liqueur provide a healthy base to accommodate the playful Pomm juice and lime($9). Garnished with basil for a touch of class, the herbal refresher keeps the drink from being too sweet. Keep your options open with the Barrel-aged Manhattan. A cousin of the martini, the Manhattan blends Maker’s 46 bourbon, aged in a barrel at the bar with sweet vermouth and bitters, for a nice warming touch. $12.
The Sunshine Factory
What’s the closest you can come to feeling like a kid while sipping an adult beverage? The Sunshine Factory has managed to take that delicious chocolatey shake flavor and serve it up in a martini glass. Absolut Vanilla vodka and chocolate liqueur are tossed with a bit of Bailey’s Irish cream and garnished with a strawberry for a pop of color. Owner April Hanson also recommends the Push-up. “It tastes like the Push-up Pops from childhood,” she says, referring to the classic orange-and-vanilla ice cream treat. This drink is a simple mix of Dr. Vanillacuddy’s, orange juice and cream. The Sunshine Factory is also putting smiles on faces and keeping money in wallets with happy hour specials. Grab the girls (or boys!), and take advantage of $4 cosmos. Happy hour is every day of the week: Mon.-Fri. 2-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and then again from 9 p.m. to midnight each night. $7.95 each.
Jake’s City Grille
The cucumber martini is a personal favorite for out-of-season summer drinks. It’s a cool, careful take on a drink easily disrupted with crazy ingredients and questionable garnishes. Jake’s keeps the glass nice and tight with Prairie Cucumber Vodka swirled with fresh lime juice. Garnished with a cucumber ribbon, it’s the fanciest affair you can get wearing blue jeans at the bar. If holiday is a state of mind, then why not make yours French? The French martini is a mix of Ciroc vodka and Chambord, a delicious berry liqueur inspired by the flavors of the famous Sun King. Shake it with a dash of pineapple juice and a twist of lime, and the cool breeze of the Riviera is only a sip away. $9.25 each, $8.25 during happy hoour.
The burgers aren’t the only famous features of flavor at your favorite family haunt. Red Robin has a bar full of beverages, and the Patrón Pear-tini is an oasis of unique flavor. Top shelf Patrón Silver tequila blends with Cointreau, lime juice and prickly pear, the forbidden fruit of the desert ($8.99). Martinied out? We won’t tell. Try the Merry Moscato Punch for a drink that’s completely unique. Alice white moscato and Bacardi rum are blended with a mango puree for a bit of texture. Follow with a splash of pineapple juice and a vanilla kick, and you’re enjoying the Red Robin interpretation of an island punch. $5.99.