Saketini? Sock It to Me

Uncivilized so-called martinis mar the classic cocktailand some are damn tasty.

In some circles, a martini is mostly gin with a hint of vermouth and maybe a green olive or two. Stuffy, old-school thinking, maybe, but those are the rules. Or they were, in the days of John D. Rockefeller's Knickerbocker Hotel bar. Anyone who goes out with any frequency knows that, these days, most bartenders are not ashamed to splash neon-colored liqueurs in a cocktail glass, punctuate the potion with a swizzle stick and call it a martini. Saketinis may be all the rage with Hollywood types this season, but Seattle has its share of fabulous (and not-so) gin-free imposters, too. Here are a few local concoctions that would make famed barman Martini di Arma di Taggia turn over in his grave: In the "so good we don't care if they qualify as martinis" category, Belltown's Cascadia (2328 First Ave., 206-448-8884) deserves a glittery gold star for its Alpine Martini ($8), a sweet, herby, baseball-size "snowball" of Douglas fir sorbet floating in a glass of Absolut Citron. Sambar (425 N.W. Market St., 206-781-4883) in Ballard is definitely on to something with its Gingerini ($9)unlike other fauxtinis on this list, this one actually includes gin in addition to its Asian fusion formula of fresh ginger, lime juice, and sugar. In the "only in Seattle" category, we have as many coffee-themed martinis as Starbucks has bean blends. Tini Bigs (100 Denny Way, 206-284-0931) weighs in with the Spanish Tini ($8): rum, Kahlua, coffee, and cream served in a sugar-rimmed, oversized, 10-oz. cocktail glass. Von's Grand City Cafe (619 Pine St., 206-621-8667) will get you buzzed three ways with their Topaz Martini ($6.25): Finlandia vodka, dark cr譥 de cacao, and Frangelico layered over three coffee beans in a stemless cocktail glass. BluWater Greenlake (7900 E. Greenlake Dr. N., 206-524-3985) will put the proverbial pep in your step with Corey's Cold Coffee Cocktail ($6): chilled "triple batch" coffee, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, cr譥 de cacao, and Stoli Vanil, shaken and served up. Julia's on Broadway (300 Broadway E., 206-860-1818) substitutes Oregon Chai for coffee in the surprisingly balanced Spice Gurl ($7), where it's blended with Stoli Vanil and Cointreau with an orange twist. And in the "huh?" category, Von's serves a lip-puckering Smartee Martini ($5.95): a blend of Stoli, Thomas Kemper grape soda, and a dash of sweet and sour mix, garnished withas if it needs ita lemon wedge. And Julia's on Broadway will drop your tushie back in Munchkin Land with its candied-apple-in-a-glass, the Emerald City ($7.50), a tongue-numbing blend of Burnetts vodka, DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker liqueur, and a touch of DeKuyper Hot Damn 100 cinnamon schnapps. I'd offer that what Seattle drinkers need next is a Safecotini, with a garlic fry theme, or a salmontini, complete with smoky tarragon aﯬi, but I fear some well-meaning cocktailian might actually try it. kmillbauer@seattleweekly.com

 
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