Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Art of Mixology

Not every bartender is created equal. That was apparent on a recent trip to New Orleans. You'd think a city that wakes up and goes to sleep with a drink in its hand would have a million phenomenal bartenders at their disposal, right? That wasn't my experience while dining at two Zagat Rated restaurants with chic bars showcasing every high end liquor known to man.

Now I know what you are thinking. You're thinking what drink could I have possibly ordered to have caused such a stir? (No pun intended!) Drum roll please.....a SOUR APPLE MARTINI. Yes, that's right...a Sour Apple Martini. I realized that weekend away, that there was an art to creating a drink of this nature. It takes just the right mixture of vodka and pucker to give this martini just the right combo of sweet and sour. Not to mention, the drink needs to be served in a chilled martini glass, rimmed with sugar and garnished with a maraschino cherry or apple slice. I know flavored martinis hit a big time high when Sex and the City was on HBO. Everyone was  into Cosmos because Carrie and her friends made drinking them cool. Not me, I gravitated to Sour Apple Martinis and have made it my mission to search out the best places to enjoy this lime green colored libation. So, if you are looking for great places to savor my favorite, the Sour Apple are my picks for places not to miss! They're ranking  in order from 1 - 4, with 1 being my absolute favorite.

1. Old Hickory Steakhouse - Orlando, Florida
     This swamp themed restaurant is nestled in the Gaylord Palms Resort and is known for its aged steaks
     and artisan cheeses.  However, it's there Pygmy Rattlesnake that keeps me coming back for more!
     At the Old Hickory, that's what they call a Sour Apple Martini...a Pygmy Rattlesnake. I have to admit
     this one has more than a name change that makes it excitingly different...the martini's glass is rimmed with
     velvety caramel instead of sugar! My first time trying this drink, I thought I would be in for a rush of
     sweetness. Not at all! The O.H. mixologists must have read my mind, because instead of the caramel
     overpowering the drink...the cocktail was formulated to be a little more sour than usual. So, when licking
     the caramel and taking a have total nirvana!

2. Touche' Bar - New Orleans, LA
     This quaint mahogany bar on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter renewed my faith in the
     Cresent City for superb drinks. The people that patron this bar, are a mixture of locals and tourists. I'm a
     firm believer that if there are more locals in a bar than have found a hidden treasure.
     I hit the jackpot! My only regret is that I can't remember the female bartender's name that took such
     pride in her art. However, I intend to return one day in the near future to Touche' Bar, enjoy a martini and
     get this mystery woman's name to share with you.

3. Campton Place Bar - San Francisco, CA
    Located in the Taj Campton Place hotel in the Union Square area of San Francisco, this posh lounge is
    where deals are made over drinks and swanky cuisine. On any given night, Campton Place Bar is packed
    with business people and hotel guests. The drinks are overpriced, but delicious and generous in size
    compared to other high end bars in the San Francisco area.

4. Blu Fig - Tampa, FL
    Don't let the shopping center location or the fact that it is located north of Kennedy Blvd fool you. Blu Fig
    is a gastronomical celebration for your mouth. It has become my husband a/k/a the Chefy C.P.A. and my
    date night getaway from our children. Ben, who always seems to be the bartender on our visits, knows his
    wines, beers and can mix a heck of a drink! I highly recommend anyone living in South Tampa venture
    north and experience one of Tampa's best bistros.

So, now you know where I like to enjoy the best Sour Apple Martinis. Know of a place that should make my list? I'm always open to adding others!

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