I was skeptical about going back out again for best martini, my idea of martini involves copious amounts of fake apple flavour and zero olives. But Bar Chef had just been voted best martini and we had to go see what all the fuss was about. Really how much stock could there to be to this, can there really be that much differential between martinis? Is it not a limited medium??
We had been to Bar Chef before for fancy cocktails- and not much else, the food menu was tiny. Instead we went out to Amsterdam Brewhouse for a pre-drink dinner. Why the brewhouse you ask? Brent had a gift card. I had been listening to an episode of Stuff You Should Know about barbeque, so when my eyes landed on smoked brisket on the menu I just had to order it. Even though the first rule of smoking had been broken: upon approaching and then entering the restaurant there wasn’t even a trace of smell of cherrywood smoke, yet the menu said it was smoked on premise. Hmm. Not being much of a beer fan I had settled on a citrus-y one, until I was told it was sold out. But we were at a brewhouse! I needed some sort of beer-drink, and they delivered: a beer sangria. It was ok but nowhere near the best I have ever had. It did get better towards the bottom as I got to the fruit and it got sweeter.
When we got to Bar Chef we were a bit confused. There was no martini on the drinks list. Brent asked the bartender who said he could make one. The catch being that Brent got to choose the vodka for the base of the drink. I noticed over the bartender’s shoulder that one of the vodkas they had was the Polish bison grass one, Zubrowka. The decision was made for Brent- it had to be Zubrowka! From that the bartender rattled off a few ingredients for the ok: fennel and chamomile. We both looked at each other after the bartender had left. What weird ingredients. It may have sounded weird but damn did it work! It really was the best martini I have ever tried. Major bonus points for no olives. I was still getting over my cold so I stuck to just nursing my drink instead of getting a second. I had ordered a drink with lavender in it and the rim was dusted in lavender sugar. I had confirmed that yes in fact, lavender can be consumed and it is quite tasty. Brent had a second drink, it had been one we both had our eye on because it had cola bitters in it. That drink won the night. I was initially going to say stole the show. But at Bar Chef that is not true. The show-stealers are the wacky drinks. The guy sitting next to us ordered a daiquiri and it was served in a coconut. We had ordered the wacky drinks last time and this time we were just after high quality artisanal cocktails.