The Classic Martini @ Duke’s Hotel – London

Posted on 11 October 2009

By Robb Wirt

Shaken, not stirred. Oh really? Since when is anything portrayed in a movie truthful? I know, I know, you can’t handle the truth! Listen up, the first thing you should learn is that you never shake something that doesn’t need to be shaken. There has to be a reason to shake something. Shaking a martini leads to bruising, and well bruising, as aficionados understand, is what happens when spirits are overzealously mixed resulting in a change in taste. But wait! Let me slow down…I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll start at the beginning.

Today I was shopping like mad at some of the most fashionable shops in Piccadilly. Honestly, it was quite exhausting, and I really needed some water to rehydrate from the previous night. God forbid you find water in this town though. So I was like, if I can’t have water I’ll just have a martini. But where? I needed to find a place that I could just chill at and not be bothered by crazy tourists like myself. I just want to relax and collect my thoughts and go over my receipts for the day. Definitely a two drink chore. I wandered a couple of blocks off the beaten path and ended up at the sophisticated Dukes Bar inside Dukes Hotel. Turns out that I ended up at one of the most popular bars in London. Dukes is famous with the metro-sophistacrats and has been serving acclaimed martini’s and rare cognacs for nearly 100 years. At any rate this place was cozy and welcoming. It was soon clear to me that you come to Dukes Bar for the martini’s and personal service.

Our bartender came to our table to take our order and then came back, not with our drinks, but with his cart. This was such a treat. He made our drinks and explained the different alcohols, their history, and what worked well together and why. It was quite an unexpected educational experience. For example, a proper martini should be prepared with gin, not vodka. That stipulation aside, since the Second World War, the increasing use of vodka in martinis has become widely accepted. Phew! I recommend the ginger martini, stirred. It was a smooth delight! I loved the pride the bartender took in making us the perfect martini. Alessandro Palazzi, Dukes Bar manager, explains “A martini is very easy to make but like all simple things, it’s also easy to get it wrong.” No mistakes here. Dukes Bar is a first class experience all the way around.

35-36 St. James’s Place
London, SW1A 1NY, United Kingdom
+44 20 7491 4840

Categorized | Eat & Drink

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