The Martini Leaves Its Mark on Miami
BY JOHN BOBEY
photography by william brinson
Mini serveware 12-piece set, Macy’s ($19.99).
|Mad Men’s ad men Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) share a three-martini lunch in early-1960s Manhattan|
|Many believe this 1887 “bartending bible” contains history’s first martini recipe|
As Patrick Slattery recalled, the three-martini-lunch glamour days were no myth, and they’re here again thanks to another culturally significant production: AMC’s muchlauded critical smash Mad Men. Says Bryan Batt, who played Sterling Cooper art director Salvatore Romano, “They didn’t hide it. They drank during the day and then went back to the office and were actually productive—or in the case of Don Draper, reproductive. But I think that Sal would have been more classic,” Batt continues, “with a gin martini. And I think he would have been an olive man.”
When sniffing out Miami’s martini legacy in particular, look to the sun-drenched days of the 1950s and ’60s when, like today, Miami was the playground of the stars and socialites from New York and LA. Heidi Klum summed it up at the grand reopening of the legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008: “Back in the day, you couldn’t swing a martini glass without hitting Elvis, the Rat Pack, or anybody who was anybody.” Glamour and refinement helped make Miami the ultimate resort paradise, and that meant the cocktail flourished here. After all, living it up in paradise is thirsty work. “The martini has been enjoyed and endorsed by a lot of celebrities. It became the embodiment of a generation,” says Francesco Lafranconi, corporate director of mixology and spirits education at Southern Wine and Spirits of America, and developer of cocktail programs for restaurateur Daniel Boulud, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, and Bobo Bergstrom’s Edge Steak and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. “It became part of a lifestyle,” Lafranconi continues, “and this is why the martini is synonymous with sophistication, good living, and luxury. It represents a state of being.”
The cocktail is now as much in demand as it ever was. “The martini is alive and well down here,” assures Richie Petronzi, head bartender for Skybar and the Shore Club South Beach. “These days, everybody is drinking them, from the older crowd to the younger customers who are really getting into vintage drinking and the classic cocktails. They respect the tradition.”
And what a tradition it is. After a century, the martini is not merely holding steady, but thriving across Miami’s swankiest establishments and grittiest bars, from the Setai to the Deuce. Sometimes it pays to stick to the basics and honor the past. “Whenever I’m with friends and we’re having martinis, we end up reminiscing about where and when we began drinking them,” says Slattery. “I can still remember the very first time I had one, I was probably 18 or 19. There was only one other person in the bar. I said to the bartender, ‘Hey, what is that he’s drinking?’ pointing to a fellow customer. Of course it was a martini. He made me one, and it probably took me an hour and a half to finish it. That first martini took my breath away. But then I thought, I like it.”
Drink stylist: ed gabriels for halley resources
photographs Courtesy of Everett Collection (connery); A beBooks/Cabin Fever Books (booK); AP Photo/Phil Sandlin (fontaine bleau)
Go behind the scenes with Elle Macpherson during her Ocean Drive photo shoot.