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Dry Martini
Dry Martini
C/Aribau 162,
Barcelona,
Catalonia,
08036,
Spain
[View Map]
34 93 217 50 72
Mon-Fri, 1pm-02.30 am; Sat & Sun 6.30pm-3am

 April 2011

“You know it's very dry don't you?" This was the second consecutive evening that a person in a white coat had peered down at me with this question. “I do" I replied, “I had a pink one last night and it knocked my socks off!"

 

I am sitting in Dry Martini on a corner of the Eixample district of Barcelona; a bar opened by Javier de las Muelas in 1978 that pays homage to 'the king of cocktails' and to its evolution.

 

Behind the bar is the 'original' recipe for the Dry Martini: 1/2 oz of London Dry Gin, ½ oz of French Vermouth, dash of orange bitters, a squeeze over the surface of the cocktail with lemon peel and an olive (let the debate commence).  The bar recalls the golden age of cocktails, when drinks were drinks.  If your palate demands sweet colourful cocktails with unnecessary garnish this is not the place for you. We are talking hard liquor here, albeit with perfect balance and serve.

 

Consummate professionals, the bartenders mix drinks with the precision of a surgeon and the reverence of a priest. According to Imbibe by David Wondrich the first Dry Martini did indeed use London Dry or Plymouth gin. Here Bombay Sapphire is the tipple of choice for classics; Martin Miller is used for a G and T. The latter is carried to the customer aloft a silver tray and poured at the table. Dry martinis are stirred at the bar underneath the original recipe.

 

Despite all the nods to the past however, Dry Martini values 'evolution'.  Martinis are served in differing forms, for example 'frappes' and 'exotics'. I had been experimenting with frappes which are served in coupes and flavoured with truffle, rose petal (the above-mentioned Pink Martini) raspberry, jalapeno, coffee, Madras, wasabi. For frappes Bombay Sapphire and vermouth are mixed with flavours in bottles which are refrigerated at -26 degrees each morning. The alcohol crystallizes and when a customer orders a frappe, the bottle is shaken and the drink poured. Pure genius, the result is a drink chilled with crystallised shavings of the drink itself instead of ice. The flavours are subtle, the alcohol content strong; it is dry.

 

It's probably not a good idea to do a 'Mad Men style' three-martini business lunch here. Visit for pleasure only.

 

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