Bar Review: Padri, Agoura Hills, CA

Martini Glass Upright

I recently visited Pardi in Agoura Hills.  The place has a new owner(s) and they remodeled the bar area.  The new decor is sort of a cross between country roadside farmhouse and LA Chic.  I like the new feel and believe it is a step up from the previous ramshackle rustic look.  The food was good and service was fine.  Reportedly they have live music some nights.

The Martini was good but not special.   Well shaken but with warm ice leaving it a bit watered down, moderate volume, and modestly chilled glass.  So Padri earns a rating of only one martini.

They have an interesting take on chilled stemware, except they don’t use ‘stems’.  The Martini glasses are prepped in an ice filled trough on the counter top.  The glass was probably colder than if the bartender had filled it with ice water, but I think this is mostly a marketing effort:  good visual affect, moderate performance.


What’s the best way to hold the Martini?

What’s the best way to hold the stem to retain maximum Martini coldness?

I use two fingers at the rim.  Is it better to hold the base?  Or the stem itself?

Having my fingers on the rim of the bowl certainly transmits heat to the glass and then the drink.  So physics tells me to hold the base with just a finger and thumb.  That provides the longest heat transfer path to the Martini.

But by design Martini stems are very top heavy and I’d then be concerned about spilling!

Holding the stem between the bowl and base seems to be a good compromise between stability and heat input.   As long as you’re just using a couple of fingers.

For me, discretion is the better part of valor, I’ll take the warming from my finger tips to ensure I don’t loose any of the drink.

Twitter:  @Shkn_Nt_Strrd

Conde Nast Awesome Distillery List

I recently ran across this interesting list of awesome distilleries that you should visit.  At the top of the list was Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill.  Sounds like a Road Trip.  😀


Bar Review: Mastro’s Thousand Oaks

Martini Glass UprightMartini Glass Upright

Not to long ago I was in Thousand Oaks and stopped in at Mastro’s.  I’ve been there several times, but never to specifically review their Martini. Mastro’s is known for their steaks and excellent service.  But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to excellent Martinis.

But they are.   The Martini was exceptional.  A very large portion perfectly mixed and served well chilled in a nice stem fresh out of the freezer.  The barkeep was professional, pleasant, and attentive.   Absolutely perfect.

One very nice element to a Mastro Martini is that you get a full shaker’s worth of Martini.  The barkeep will fill your stem and leave you with the shaker to refill your glass as you see fit.  I got another 2/3 of a glass out of the shaker.

Now I’m looking forward to trying some of the other Mastro’s locations….

Sir Roger Moore’s Opinion on a Perfect Martini

I found Sir Roger Moore’s thoughts on his Perfect Martini at his twitter feed: @sirrogermoore .  For those not on Twitter, here is the article and link:  How to make a dry martini the Roger Moore way

I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but its fun to read.  And he certainly has the credentials to offer an opinion.

007 moment – Vesper Thoughts

The Vesper was first described in Ian Flemings 1953 “Casino Royale” as:  “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”

Why do people mess with the recipe?  I was in a very respected restaurant the other day and I noticed the Vesper in the drink menu and that they were using my preferred gin.  I thought I’d give it a try but first I asked the barkeep for their recipe (I’d been through this before).

Not surprisingly the barkeep said they mixed equal portions of Gin and Vodka.  Why?  The original creation of a Vesper is clear as is the IBA Official Cocktail description – 3:1 Gin to Vodka proportions.  Reversing the proportions, which I’ve seen, or equalizing the proportions changes the tasted significantly.

I asked that my Vesper be constructed with the correct proportions and, of course, the barkeep was quite happy to oblige.  It was excellent.

All I can figure is that Bars change the proportions to appeal to the masses of Vodka drinkers.   Such a shame.


Twitter: @Shkn_Nt_Strrd

Don’t forget to check out @shkn_nt_stirred.   There are many gin and martini related posts there.  Plus a few of my favorite restaurants.  😉


Thoughts on Stemware, Part Two

A few more rambling thoughts on “cold” stemware…….

We know that smaller things warm up quickly and larger object warm up more slowly. Specifically objects with larger thermal masses warm up more slowly. Usually, but not always, thermal mass correlates with object mass.

Additionally some materials are thermal insulators, meaning that heat moves slowly through the material (think Styrofoam cups). Some materials are thermal conductors (think copper frying pans).   But restaurants and bars serve Martinis in glass, maybe crystal.    We rarely have the option of asking for ‘good’ stem material.

To maximize the time of coldness, I want a Martini with a large thermal mass. But most bars will not give you a pint of Martini. They have one, maybe two, sizes of stems and they pour measured amounts of gin and vermouth. The only other variable is the stem itself.  So make mine the largest most massive piece of glass, or lead crystal, available.