Best Martini - 2006
A sexy librarian walks into another bar. She is still looking for the perfect man, but tonight she settles for the companionship of a perfect martini. Over the years her fickle taste has migrated from gin to vodka. (Go ahead and call her a heathen, but James Bond jumped the juniper berry ship and never looked back.) A year older, a year wiser, and the bar code on her library card a little worse for wear, the bibliophile has gone dirty but still wants class. This swanky bar set in the terribly romantic Biltmore Hotel has the feel of an intimate parlor, with brocade settees, warm candlelight, and black-and-white photos adorning the walls. The charming Octavio mixes a superb beverage -- shaken with enough vigor to splinter the ice without diluting the spirits -- and is happy to lend a sympathetic ear as the librarian scans the room for a traveling businessman who'd be happy to pay for her $14 cocktail (yes, it's a bit much, but that's what you pay for top-shelf in this town). As she sips her seductively smooth and salty libation, the librarian spies a diamond-studded Cartier timepiece on a handsome suit. He extends his hand to make her acquaintance, but the flash of a gold wedding band immediately redirects her gaze across the bar, where she spies a rugged outdoor type holding a Bill Bryson book in one hand and a martini in the other. She smoothes her skirt and lets down her hair before she crosses the room to see how the next chapter of her delicious novel will unfold.