The secret to a $150 martini.


  1. Go to Nic’s Beverly Hills.
  2. Waiter places beautiful, if oversized, martini glass on the table.
  3. Waiter removes bottle of Kauffman vodka from a nest of ice cubes.
  4. Waiter pours vodka into glass.
  5. Waiter continues pouring.
  6. And pouring.
  7. And pouring, until there is a scant cup’s worth of pure vodka.
  8. Your martini is served.

How’d it taste? Delicious; cold in the mouth, warm in the stomach and not even a suggestion of those butane fumes found in lesser vodkas, but what do you expect from a "single-vintage" vodka that’s filtered 14 times through the silk stocking that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe* (or whatever it is that Kauffman does to differentiate itself from the hundreds of thousands of other luxury-brand vodkas)? It’s a testament to my willpower (and desire to drive home) that I didn’t come close finishing the thing.

That said, was it even a martini? Nearly eight ounces (about four shots’ worth) of unadulterated vodka, without so much as a spray of vermouth? (I’m not even touching the purist’s argument that a martini can only be gin, anything else is an abomination, blah blah blah.)

However, that "martini" was the Beverly Hills equivalent of those places in Key West that boast $25 GIANT ASS FROZEN DRINKS (and $1 Bacardi melon Jell-O shots), only here the commemorative container is a Michael Weems etched-crystal glass rather than an insulated squeeze bottle.

* Actually, the Kauffman site says something even weirder: "The blend of Kauffman Luxury contains the infusion of dried wheaten crusts that is thoroughly filtered before being added to the other components of Vodka Kauffman Luxury such as rectified ethylic spirit ‘Luxe’, softened water and sugar." I’m not sure which disturbs me more, "dried wheaten crusts" or "rectified ethylic spirit."



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6 responses to “The secret to a $150 martini.

  1. 8 ounces of straight-up vodka (and no, I don’t even consider it -tini by any means) — is there a paramedic with a stomach pump nearby too?

  2. They rectified the spirit of Ethel Barrymore for that vodka? Damn, now I have to try it.

  3. You get to keep the glass, but paramedics are not included.

  4. Merel and Ashley

    We were offered this amazing vodka in Rome and loved it, on the rocks with a small piece of lemomn!

  5. Good vodka, but count me among those believing that if it’s not gin, it’s not a Martini.
    Does “dried wheaten crusts” refer to the leftovers from last night’s pizza? Recycling is good, but that’s pushing the concept a little too far.

  6. Stewart Morton

    The martini is more often than not served with vodka today because of the huge popularity of the spirit. I tried Kauffman in Sardinia and it is an awesome, super smooth spirit that is terrific alone, or with a slight twist, an olive!

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