One of my favorite haunts when I was in my early 20s is the time-honored Cruise Room at Denver's Oxford Hotel. It opened the day after Prohibition ended in 1933, and has been open ever since. A quintessential example of Art Deco design, the Cruise Room was modelled after a bar on the ocean liner the Queen Mary. Carved panels of cultures around the world saying 'Cheers!' line the walls, basking in dim pink light.
Now, personally, I tend to stick to the classics--my bebida preferida (when not drinking Malbec) is a vodka martini up with two olives. It's been years since I warmed one of those bar stools at the Cruise Room, dreaming I was in another era, and I haven't embraced the trend of pomegranategingerapplefusion-tinis that's all the rage at hip clubs and bars.
But...this martini, while it follows the mixology fad, leaves you with a little something special. Maybe it's the grassy flavor of the Yerba Mate, or the twist of lemon, but this martini is clean and sharp. Enough for even a traditionalist like me to enjoy! And enjoying yourself (responsibly, of course) is something that never goes out of vogue.
As it's carved on that luminous bar-room wall, Salut!
Martini de Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate Martini
This would be a fun signature drink at an Argentina-themed party.
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. Yerba Mate, chilled
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
twist of lemon
Brew the Yerba Mate (I used bags) very strong--a few ounces of boiling water to one bag. Chill the Yerba Mate. In a martini shaker or pitcher, combine the vodka, Yerba Mate and Grand Marnier. Add ice and shake. Strain and serve in a martini glass with lemon twist.