Bougie or Budget: Shaken, Not Stirred


There’s nothing quite like a martini. It’s classic yet contemporary, and making one is certainly an art, not a science.

When I hear a bartender working a shaker at a bar, I think of one thing: my first trip to the famous Piccola Venezia restaurant in Astoria. I had just returned from Boston after graduating college there, determined to fall in love with New York City again. While waiting at the bar for a table, my friend Amanda told me that the bartender made some dynamite dirty martinis.

“Dirty martini?” I asked innocently, never having tried one before. “Yes,” she said, and proceeded to order two of them, extra dirty, three olives. Needless to say, my love for the martini (shaken, not stirred) was born that night in Astoria. Today, my martini addiction continues, spending many an evening testing out new bar stools, and searching for old- and new-school bartenders who know how to make it just right.

I have come across many ambitious mixologists who attempt to elevate the martini in unique ways. (Think Pure Food and Wine’s Master Cleanse Tini made with lemon, maple syrup, a dash of cayenne pepper, and sake, or the ever popular Lychee Martini, often found in Asian Fusion restaurants.)

While these options can be great, for our purposes, let’s be martini purists. Read on...