Drink of the Moment
Olive the Above
Name: The Oak Martini Service
Ingredients: Ridiculously simple. Ice, garnish and booze, served in a bucket.
Size matters: The Oak’s martini is a six-ounce pour, instead of your standard four.
Liquor: The bar suggests Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, made from Polish rye. “There’s more body to it,” suggests general manager Michael Letterman. Indeed, it tastes nuttier and thicker than filtered vodkas and robust enough to sip unmixed.
Alternatives: “We’re using as many local spirits and fresh ingredients as we can,” says Letterman, citing Massachusetts labels like Bully Boy and Berkshire Mountain Distillers. The bar’s draught list, too, is entirely regional with the exception of Miller Lite (for traveling businessmen).
Garnishes: The most popular are the Roquefort-stuffed jumbo green olives. But black olives stuffed with house-made boursin do the trick, too.
Presentation: When the Oak Room reopened as Oak Long Bar + Kitchen this past summer, the facelift extended to more than the new entrance, sprawling copper bar, open sightlines and hearth oven. They updated the martini buckets. “They’re Nambé wine chillers,” says Letterman. “High-quality alloys. Very modern and cool, and look like chrome.” Otherwise, the venue’s service remains the same as it did when Cary Grant was still leaning a tuxedo sleeve against a bartop.
Character: Atavistic, luxurious. Craft cocktailers will find little novelty in vodka and vermouth, and there’s a blunt message in ordering a personal carafe of 80 proof liquor. This is the idealized, classic cocktail, as fresh as it was 50 years ago.
Pair it with: Something equally strong. For instance, a custom charcuterie board, alongside prosciutto, and herb and smoked cheddar biscuits served with red onion aioli.
The Oak Martini Service
Oak Long Bar + Kitchen | 138 St. James Ave., Boston | 617-585-7222 | oaklongbarkitchen.com