For a proper martini, you first must have the proper surroundings. There's no other place in Miami that exudes a more elegant, Old-World vibe than the classic Biltmore Hotel. A dark lounge decorated with pictures of actors on the red carpet in Cannes houses the room's focal point: a lushly carved wooden bar that looks like it belongs in a chic Parisian hotel. Your bartender hands you a leather-bound book of beverages, but you came here for the most regal of cocktails, so you don't even look. The classic martini (starting at $15) is the preferred libation of the likes of Winston Churchill, Dorothy Parker, and James Bond. Whether you choose vodka or gin is, of course, a matter of preference. If you take gin, you'll be rewarded with an ice-cold drink made with Martin Miller's London Dry gin (the house spirit) and topped with three olives. Forget the house-made bitters, bacon-infused bourbon, and cocktails in cans. There's a reason why the martini has stood the test of time, and this one is clear perfection in a glass. The Biltmore Bar is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 1:30 a.m. and is closed Sunday and Monday.
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