Best Bastardization of the Martini - 2003
Mango Martini at Gaylord India
Once upon a time, a martini meant one thing: gin and as minimal an amount of dry vermouth as possible. Then wimps with immature taste buds started substituting vodka for the gin, and the rest is history. Now we have chocolate martinis and apple martinis and Key lime martinis and, for all we know, Chilean sea bass martinis. We fought this escalating subversion of the great born-and-bred San Francisco cocktail down to the last olive pick -- until we tasted Gaylord's Mango Martini. Puréed mango, a splash of Grand Marnier, and lots of Malibu coconut rum are shaken with ice, strained into a glass, drizzled with Remy Red, garnished with an orange slice, and ceremoniously set before you. It looks like a beautiful sunset, but drink it anyway. Sweet, creamy, and soothing (like a really great smoothie), it has that wonderful musky mango essence, a tart undertone, and a boozy afterkick (abetted, no doubt, by the hint of ginseng in the Remy Red). Served cool and not cold so you can taste the marvelous flavor combinations, it's unexpectedly delicious with an order of crisp, spicy vegetable samosas; if you're going to veer off the gustatory straight and narrow, you might as well go all the way.