“In my opinion, there is only one martini. Any other drink, though served ‘up’ in a martini glass, is not a martini. It’s a cocktail of some other name,” says Minnesota’s most prominent authority on cocktails, Pip Hanson. “It is a central tenet of the cocktail renaissance we’re enjoying today. Respect for, and a thorough understanding of, the classics is a cornerstone of cocktail bartending.” Pat Mancini sees drink trends come and go, although the martini has maintained its popularity through the years. He offers up an enticing lemon twist to his martini drink, the Limoncello.
50 N. Second Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
WCCO’s Jason DeRusha says Pip Hanson is amazing in “DeRusha Eats: Jason Hands Out Gastronomic Gold Medals.” Pip’s landmark accomplishment is opening Marvel Bar for the Dayton brothers in 2011. For that, City Pages named him Bartender of the Year. Bon Appetit Magazine followed up, recognizing Marvel Bar and The Bachelor Farmer as one of America’s Ten Best New Restaurants. James Beard made Marvel a semifinalist as Outstanding Bar Program for a couple years. Perhaps real recognition comes from the many local bars trying to copy Pip’s creation that opened the way to a whole new genre of cocktail, The Oliveto.
“Most of the bartenders working in relevant cocktail bars today have returned to the pre-Prohibition definition of a martini,” says Pip. “It is a gin cocktail (sometimes vodka) with vermouth and orange bitters.”
- 65ml dry gin (Tanqueray or similar)
- 25ml dry vermouth (Dolin)
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Stir with cracked ice
- Strain into martini glass
- Garnish with a lemon twist
Related: Best Martini Bars In Minnesota
Owner and Manager
Mancini’s Char House & Lounge
531 7th Street W.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
“The drinks are always the same, but the swings in the market bring us back to those old-time favorites from time to time,” says Pat Mancini, “but martinis have held the market pretty well.” Pat describes the ambience at Mancini’s as Vegas-style retro and reflects, “Sipping a martini at Mancini’s kind of fits. It is a throwback to the early supper club—Americana lost. We no longer have the Lexington or Nye’s. Fortunately, we still have Jax.” He describes Mancini’s as a “big sprawling restaurant.” The dining area seats 400 and the lounge holds 200 in stadium-sized booths where patrons listen to a retro band. Nick Mancini created this old-world essence in 1948 and son Pat has worked there since the age of 12. His brother and three sons help continue the tradition. Readers may note that Mancini’s was first on the list for CBS’ Best Martini Bars linked above.
- 4.5 to 5 ounces vodka (Pat says readers can use any brand of vodka although Limoncello at Mancini’s is always made with Absolut or Stoli)
- 2 splashes homemade limoncello
- 1 zest of lemon peel
- Chill vodka bottle before serving (optional)
- Chill glasses before serving (not optional)
- Chip ice
- Place in carboy for only a couple of quick shakes so as not to dilute the vodka
- Pour into chilled glass and serve
Limoncello (pronounced “lee man chello”)
- 1 gallon vodka
- Lemon zest
- 16 ounces sugar
- Infuse lemon zest in vodka for about one month
- Add sugar to mix
- Keep cold in refrigerator until ready to drink
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.