On New Year’s Eve, a young man’s (or woman’s) fancy lightly turns to drinking, often. Dean Martin used to call it amateur night. I don’t drink much and I certainly never thought I’d be a martini-drinker. But I am. It’s all Musso and Frank’s fault.
Musso and Frank’s Grill is the name of a restaurant in Hollywood–the oldest one. The food is good, but the drinks there are awesome. They specialize in bone-dry martini’s served with an extra sip or two in a tiny carafe on the side. Contrary to James Bond’s advice, at Musso and Frank’s the martini is always stirred, not shaken.
We were in Hollywood (Burbank) a couple of years ago working on a series of television news stories. An ABC publicist insisted that no one in his right mind would leave LA without going there. It turned out to be some of the best advice ever.
It’s long been a hangout for celebrities and screenwriters. George Clooney and Brad Pitt plotted their "Ocean’s Eleven" heist in one of Musso and Frank’s leather booths a few years ago. It would be easy to picture Frank Sinatra walking in with Lana Turner. As it is, you can always find celebrities there. Judge Wapner was eating at the table next to ours.
The average age of the bartenders seems to be about eighty. In their red jackets, they look like they came with the place. They know what they’re doing, too, raising mixology to an art form. Photographer extraordinaire Scott Lima, a former bartender himself, asked one of them to make us his speciality. It turned out to be an apple martini, complete with a slice of green apple. Smooth as silk. Smoother.
Ever since, I’ve been hooked and in search of one that compares. Of course, none has. If you drink, you ought to have one.
Have a Happy (and safe) New Year.