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Best Martini 

The Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge

Shaken, not stirred. Olives, no twist. 94-proof gin. Juniper berries, no exotic blends or weird botanicals. Absolutely no vodka. No Kool-Aid flavorings, either -- forget the cranberry, pineapple, apple liqueurs. We're traditionalists, if not purists. Think Nick Charles, still in his silk pajamas, scanning the afternoon newspapers, shaking off a hangover and Nora's pooch, Asta. Nick knows a true and proper martini is several parts gin, a hint of vermouth and a whole lot of affectation. You are, after all, sophisticated, aren't you? And a martini simply tastes better in a sophisticated setting, surrounded by adults. We head for the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, an oasis for businessmen and corporate bagmen whose assignations necessitate a measure of wealth. The bar's in the plush lobby, replete with leather-and-wood accoutrements and a few marble busts. We've now entered the cemetery for youthful idealism. Our Beefeater martini's a flat $10 a pop, but who the hell cares -- especially after the second one. It's all so sophisticated.

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