Where I come from, a martini used to be a pretty narrowly defined cocktail, consisting mostly of vodka or gin with a hint of dry vermouth, shaken with ice and strained into a classic martini stem garnished with an olive or a twist. That was then. Now, just about any cocktail that’s served in a martini glass gets lumped under the grand old rubric.
And here comes a whole new trend: the mini martini, often served in sampling flights like wine or brew pub beers and ales. Beach Bistro’s bar has been offering the diminutive cocktails for some time and was joined not long ago by the bar at Michael’s On East, to name but two high-profile examples.
At Michael’s, the minis created by bartender Michelle O’Keefe add up to flights of fancy. There’s the Berry Go Round flight with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries mixed with everything from mint to champagne; the Sweetest Thing flight puts white chocolate, espresso and even a chocolate-covered pretzel to whimsical new uses, and the Herbacious flight serves up watermelon, lemon basil and lavender elderflower for our tasting pleasure.
Word is these are a hit with the younger crowd, if not exactly my dish of firewater. Fortunately for me and other unreconstructed sippers, both Michael’s and Beach Bistro serve first rate, full-sized, full-strength and unadulterated martinis, too.
This article appears in the June 2012 issue of Sarasota Magazine.