Location: Morton's the Steakhouse, 1511 Sixth Ave.
Bartender: Alberto Espino
What’s your favorite drink? A Mart—er, "Mortini"
Why this drink? Espino's a company man, having worked at this Morton's since 1999 and another Morton's in Chicago before that. So it's fitting that his drink of choice invokes the name of Arnold Morton, Chi-town steak baron (and co-founder of the first Playboy Club, for the geriatric hornsters out there). Espino shakes Stoli Elite vodka and funnels it into a glass with three crunchy, blue cheese-stuffed green olives. A floating layer of what looks like cheese oil on the vodka turns out, thankfully, to be ice crystals. "Shake it real hard, make it real cold, it kills the blue-cheese taste," he says. The liquid is smooth, sweet, and as potent as a head-on collision.
The privilege of quaffing this Mor-drink (Espino also makes a "Mor-jito") will cost you $15.75, which the bartender says is a bargain for Stoli Elite. Another bargain comes in the form of complimentary filet mignon sandwiches, served on a silver platter from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The steak is pink, lathered with mayo and mustard, and squished between tablet-shaped buns: the best pill your doctor will never prescribe you. Since the powerbrokers on the bar stool next to me seemed preoccupied with the downfall of the country—"Something's coming, you can bet on it," is one line that sticks in memory—making a dinner of them seemed the smart thing to do.