The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition) defines "martini" as: "a cocktail made of gin or vodka and dry vermouth." Pretty cut-and-dried, wouldn't you say? Good. Keep walking. Countless variations within these loose parameters are fine; we're all about creativity and personal taste. We won't even object to a liberal reading of the definition that excludes dry vermouth. But the thing is, in the 21st century a "martini" has come to be defined not by its ingredients -- "gin or vodka and dry vermouth" -- but rather by its arrival in a "martini" glass. So that the glass identifies the drink, rather than the drink identifying the glass, which results in our panties bunching up. Here's an exercise. Go get a coffee mug. Pour some Pimp Juice in it. Now tell us: Would you call what you're drinking "coffee"? Okay. So what would you call a drink that has as its ingredients Malibu coconut rum, Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico and a fresh strawberry? Call it yummy, certainly. But it's not a martini, Gladys.
It is with great hesitation that we point this out at this particular time of year, when charity, joy and hope are preferred; it is with equal consternation that we do so while writing about SqWires, a Lafayette Square establishment we have grown to love (even if their dinner is a smidgen overpriced), especially their topnotch morning fare, which has surpassed Duff's in the world of "let's grab some brunch" whims. Add to the double hesitation whammy the truth that the "Anytime" "Martini" is exquisite, all creamy (Baileys) and nutty (Frangelico hazelnut liqueur) and sweet (Malibu) and sexy (strawberry), and you've got a truckload of trouble. We want you to drink one at SqWires, because they've earned their popularity and have helped transform Lafayette Square into a destination neighborhood. We want you to love. More than anything, we want you to be happy. And, honestly, our Drink of This Week is a worthy caresser of your supple lips. It's just not what it purports to be. It's something else, a cocktail that will put a Buddha grin on your face after dinner, when the world is quiet, the servers are settling in and the notion of creamy exquisiteness makes your loins tingle.
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