Best Martini - 2006
Martinez at Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
San Francisco, CA 94102
The bar at Absinthe is one of our favorite bars in the city, and Absinthe is one of our favorite restaurants near the opera and symphony, for before- or after-concert dining. Hell, Absinthe is one of our favorite French restaurants anywhere. OK, to tell the truth, we love Absinthe immoderately, for its multiple menus (brunch, lunch, dinner, bar, oyster bar, cheese, dessert and remember, as its Web site says sternly, "All Menus Change Daily"), its posh setting, its late hours, and its inventive, intelligent, and enticing cocktail list, which features beautifully made classic drinks as well as new ones. The Martinez is something of a hybrid, its name a sly allusion to one of the martini creation myths, i.e., that it was invented in Martinez to rehydrate a thirsty and rich 49er. Here it's made with award-winning local Anchor Steam Junipero gin, fragrant with a secret mixture of botanicals. The resulting drink is icy, loud, and, as one connoisseur sighs, "complex and herbaceous."