Photos By Jeff Martin, Words By Emily Catino
If you know anything about drinking in DC, then you know that some of the best ones come out of the Columbia Room. A Washington Post critic said it best in characterizing it as having “Great ingredients, superb craftsmanship, a bit of lore with the liquid: it all adds up to some sublime sipping.” Because who knew there was so much to know about cocktails aside from 1.) They taste amazing and 2.) They yield some pretty amazing behavior if you have enough of them. The truth is, though, that you can’t really have enough of the crafty and delicious creations at the Columbia Room
It sounds simple, right? But that façade quickly fades away when Matt Ficke, head bartender at the Columbia Room, tells me that in 2010 GQ named this the best martini in America. He then tells me a very cool part of the dry martini’s history—Lord Montgomery said he wanted the same ratio of vermouth as his odds in battle, 15:1. Sounds like an awesome dude. But the martini has changed since Lord M’s day, now there is far less vermouth in the optimal martini making the proportions of gin to vermouth equal parts. Making the cocktail with Tanqueray 10 gin, which is a more contemporary rendering that is more balanced with citrus, was a great choice because it allowed me to really taste the depth of flavor that this classic drink offers. After having tasted it at the Columbia Room, I can understand why, like Matt said, there’s no going anywhere else to have a Martini.
1.5 oz Tanqueray 10 Gin
1.5 oz dry vermouth (Matt recommends Dolin Dry Vermouth, it’s a super fancy French vermouth that is AOC.)
1.) Pour over ice and stir until chilled (ideally between 29 and 31 degrees farenheit).
2.) Pour through a strainer into glass.
3.) Spritz with lemon peel. (Matt says that placing the garnish in the drink doesn’t add anything, instead it is all about the smell.)