First Call: No Messing Around

At Martin’s Off Madison, take what you’re offered.

The watering hole: Martin's Off Madison, 1413 14th Ave.The barkeep: For one night and one night only: Chad Hunter. He isn't a regular mixologist at Martin's, but he got his start with its namesake owner four years ago and comes back every once in a while for a "cameo."The drink: The mojito, which isn't Hunter's favorite drink to drink, per se. That'd be a shot of Casa Noble Anejo (aka fancy tequila) on the rocks. When I ask him to make me what he drinks, he grabs a glass, and offers only a "hold on." I assume he's about to grab some tequila off the shelf, but then he starts grinding away at a sprig of mint.The verdict: Normally I would protest, but at this gayest (in both senses of the word) of piano bars, no one has any patience for being told what to do. Not Bonnie Birch, who plays everything from Sinatra standards to Led Zeppelin on her sparkling accordion; and not Martin, the owner, who has his staff dress in utilikilts. (Tonight, however, they're wearing black pants due to an influx of new employees. In Martin's words, "If [the kilt is] too big, it falls off, and if it's too small, you can't close it. And either way you're in trouble.")As for Hunter, he's going to make whatever drink he damn well pleases. The mojito, he explains, "is my favorite drink to make. I muddled the shit out of it."He also added enough simple syrup to make it chewably thick. But a squeeze from the lemon wedge on the edge of the glass brightens it up, and in no time, you'll be ready to start singing French standards with Bonnie, even without that shot of tequila.

 
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