Antipasti Cocktails

Wondering what to do with leftovers? Garnish a cocktail in style, of course.

Wondering what to do with leftovers? Garnish a cocktail in style, of course. Enter the olive donned martini, an ultimate version of glamour in a glass, immortalized by Hollywood heroes.

“In my opinion a martini should be crisp and dry, but this is America—you can do anything,” says Tom Schneider, liquor buyer at France 44. Dry could imply a drink that contains (generally) a small amount of vermouth. Martini mix interpretations vary with the individual so it’s best to ask. For a garnish, stick to “blue cheese olives because who doesn’t like blue cheese olives,” Schneider says.

Still have leftovers? If it can go on a stick, it can probably garnish a bloody mary. You can do this at home or visit Edina’s Town Hall Station where bartenders place a weighty spear of green olives, celery, cheese, cherry tomatoes and beef stick on the Thunderbird special ($9–$11) at Sunday brunch, named after what bar manager Mike Newton touts as the “greatest American car ever built.” Pick from Minneapolis-based Sideshow’s original, horseradish or jalapeno-garlic bloody mary mix. For a spirit, try vodka, gin or tequila. “Everyone has a preconceived notion of how they want it to taste,” Newton says.

For a more streamlined version, go with the Model T American classic ($6.50). Town Hall Station caters to just about every bloody mary preference and prepares other made to order craft cocktails, too. “The beer isn’t all we have going on,” Newton says. Cheers to garnished cocktails and luscious antipasti!

Town Hall Station

Martini Recipe

  • 2 ½ oz. of gin (or vodka if you prefer)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (less or more to taste)
  • Blue cheese olives (or a twist of lemon if you prefer)

Place gin and vermouth in a large mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with two olives on a toothpick and serve.

Tips to making a great martini:

  1. Use top shelf spirits: France 44 has a dazzling selection of gin and vermouth. Schneider recommends the Botanist, a Scottish brand of gin with 31 botanicals ($36.99). For vermouth, French Dolin Dry with herbs and botanicals ($10.99).
  2. Seek advice: Liquor store staff can be a resource of encyclopedic detail.
  3. Relax: Shaken or stirred can go either way, but “classically it was a stirred cocktail,” Schneider says. Sorry, Mr. Bond.

France 44 Wines and Spirits