On Valentine’s Day, I went to The Columbia Room’s special drink and dinner offering with my bride to be. It was a remarkable experience, as always, with both phenomenal cocktails being made by Derek Brown and a full meal prepared beside him behind the bar. If you haven’t yet been to The Columbia Room, I can’t recommend it more highly. It’s easily one of the best craft cocktail bars in the country and the experience is unlike any other American bar.
One of the cocktails Derek served was the Flame of Love Martini, a drink created at the request of Dean Martin. What strikes me as unique about it is that was the only vodka-based cocktail I could ever recall Derek serving (we realized afterwards that the original menu of The Passenger had a vodka drink called Tatanka).
Flame of Love Martini
2 1/4 oz. Vodka
1/2 tsp. Amontillado Sherry
2 orange peels
Shake and strain into chilled glass that has been sprayed with the zest of a flamed orange. Use second orange peel to flame zest on top of drink as well.
The double flaming makes this Martini variation unique. The small amount of Amontillado goes a surprisingly long way in the cocktail. It’s surprisingly rich and flavorful. Dare I say, it’s the first vodka Martini I’ve ever enjoyed. I’m not about to abandon my Fifty Fifty any time soon, but I think having an interesting vodka Martini in one’s repertoire is important, given how popular they are with the uninitiated.