Top Ten Martinis: From Doraku to Sustain to the Raleigh, Who’s Number One?

Fox’s Sherron Inn took the best martini spot in our annual listing of everything good in our fair city for their well-priced martinis in a classic 1950s setting.

Miami has no alcohol shortage (in fact it’s safe to say that there are more places to get a cocktail than there are mosquitoes in the Everglades), but that doesn’t mean that every bar and lounge can make a swank martini. Though the standard martini is made with gin and vermouth, straight up, we’ve expanded out search to encompass any martini drink that would pass muster for James Bond. We now bring you our favorite Miami martinis…shaken, not stirred.

10. Doraku
Doraku’s happy hour is legendary in South Beach. Each day from 5 to 7 p.m., Doraku’s bar and outside tables fill up come rain or shine. Why so popular? Can you say $4 lychee martinis? That’s right!Four bucks buys you a sweet, flowery martini, served chilled to near freezing. So satisfying, so right, this is one delicious deal in an otherwise expensive city.

9. Haven
This South Beach techno lounge has got a martini for all you playahs in da house that rank a cocktail by its price tag. The DiVine martini is a classic dirty vodka martini with a caviar-stuffed olive. This drink will cost you $40, which is around the price of a steak. But you’d much rather be thin and fabulous, than eat. Right dahling?

8. Bourbon Steak
If you’re deciding between dessert and a cocktail, then you must have the key lime martini ($14) from Bourbon Steak in Aventura. This decadent concoction is made with vanilla vodka, fresh squeezed lime, and a touch of cream. The rim is lined with graham cracker crumbs to complete the picture. A great way to have your cake and drink it too.

7. Smit & Wollensky
Talk about a room with a view. The back bar at Smith & Wollensky directly faces the Port of Miami’s channel, where at any time of the day you can watch cruise and cargo ships take up the entire vista. The gin martinis are classic here ($14), the bartender making enough for at least a glass and a half, leaving the small stainless steel shaker for you to refill your icy glass at will. Order extra olives so you’ll have the correct ratio of martini-to-garnish, sit back, and pretend you’re late for boarding your round the world cruise. Ahhh…fantasies.

6. Wynwoo Kitchen & Bar
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar takes its artsy neighborhood seriously with mural covered walls both inside and outside. The bar may look hipster, but the martinis are straight sophistication. These artistic cocktails, are inspired by 21st century artists like Shepherd Fairey and Keny Scharf. The Futura ($12) has our hearts and taste buds alight. A blend of vanilla vodka, Grand Marnier, and fresh squeezed orange juice, this martini tastes like a creamsicle with a distinct bite

5. Prelud by Barton G.
Yes, we know Barton G. is all about the dry ice, large fruity boat drinks, and showmanship. But allow them to make you an extra dirty Tanqueray martini ($14) and they’ll show you some mad bar skills. Your martini comes in an extra large glass (some would call it an instant double), garnished with three olives. Slightly cloudy to look at, slightly salty to taste. Knock this one back and even that musical about the two witches in Oz will seem amusing.

This neighborhood joint may look like a place to grab a brew, but think again, grasshopper. The bar manager is also a master mixologist who trained his people in the art of the cocktail. A dirty gin martini is stirred, not shaken (shaking can bruise the gin), with just the right amount of vermouth. Poured into a frosted glass, and garnished with a skewer of cornichon, pearl onion and olive ($12 – $14).

3. Sustai Restaurant + Bar
Sustain’s bar manager Daniel Toral makes perfectly crafted cocktails, so it’s almost a shame to not let this bar master so his thing, but we’re talking martinis today. A classic gin martini ($12) with a twist arrives so cold one wonders whether another nanosecond of chilling would turn the entire drink to ice. The near-freezing gin is fragrant, herbal, and the lemon twist gives the drink a hint of citrus. Simply a gorgeous drink.

2. Hakkasan
Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau Hotel’s bar manager Camille Austin creates most of Hakkasan’s complex martinis and cocktail, so she has no one to blame but herself when people become addicted to her outrageous drinks. We’re obsessed with the red hot passion martini. Made with Stoli white pomegranate, fresh green apple, agave nectar, fresh lemon juice and pomegranate juice, it’s then garnished with a perfect slice of starfruit and fresh grated cinnamon. Gorgeous, delicious, and expensive. Kids, this is one cocktail you do not want to make at home.

1. The Martini Bar at the Raleigh
Named one of the top ten hotel bars of the world by Details magazine, this little gem is tucked away mid-lobby in Miami Beach’s Raleigh Hotel. A note on the menu catches your eye, “please allow your barkeep a minute or two to craft your cocktail with the finest spirits and the freshest ingredients” and truer words have never been spoken. This bar is so retro, you wouldn’t be shocked if Bogie and Bacall sat down and asked you for a light. Though the Martini Bar has an extensive collection of original creations, each named after a lovely lady, it would be a crime to not order a classic martini, straight up, extra olives. Now sit back and wait for your barkeep to make you the ultimate drink, as you kill time with Betty Bacall.


Source:  Miami Herald