The Hemingway Bar and Raspberry Martini

Today the historic Ritz Hotel is closing its doors for two years.

I never stayed at Ritz. It is way above my pay grade. But I always enjoyed a nice cocktail at the storied Hemingway Bar.

From its history you might imagine an imposing space but the Bar is actually quite small.

The entrance is at the right side of that picture. It is a small unpretentious door.

Behind the camera there is a small room/alcove slightly elevated from the rest of the bar with three tables.

The walls are full of Hemingway memorabilia and for some unknown reason you never think that they might be replicas.

A.E. Hotchner had an interesting piece on the legends surrounding the Ritz. He tells the story of how Hemingway liberated the Hotel by occupying the small bar at the back, the same place that is now known as the Hemingway Bar. If you saw the recent HBO special, "Hemingway and Gellhorn" you might have a pretty good idea how the "liberation" took place.

My favorite drink at the Hemingway Bar is the Raspberry Martini. Even when ordering in French you have to say Raspberry Martini. It was invented by the Chef du bar Colin Field, a charming and talented Englishman who is credited for bringing back the bar to its former glory.

Hemingway Bar has been closed since April. So, I decided to have one last drink at the other bar in the Hotel, the Bar Vendome. Tradition obliged me to order a Raspberry Martini. It wasn't as good as Colin Field's excellent cocktail but it would do.

Last year, I tried to duplicate the Raspberry Martini. This is my version:

Use premium vodka because this cocktail does not have additives like vermouth to make it smoother. I used Smirnoff Triple Distilled Red Label but next time I will try Grey Goose. Wash some fresh raspberry, dry them with paper towel.

The main idea is to ad them to vodka in a container that you can keep in your freezer. Since I don't have a decent container for that purpose. I emptied some of the vodka from the bottle and inserted the raspberries one by one. Colin once mentioned that he keeps his containers for three months in the freezer. Mine did not provide the same smooth taste in three months.

I waited for six months. This is the color I got. Good things come to those who wait.

It was still not as smooth as Colin's. I realized that he must be adding a few drops of raspberry liqueur to take the edge off.

The key is to keep from adding any sweetness to the drink so besides a few drops of raspberry liqueur, I added a shot of Absolut Raspberri to the bottle.

The resulting martini was very dry, had an amazing color and it was smooth without being sweet or tart. And it was fragrant,

I still prefer Colin's, as you get to drink it in the Hemingway Bar.

But since the Ritz is closed for two years, try my recipe.

Serve with fresh raspberries.

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