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Ask A San Francisco Bartender: Your Best Martini Recipe

Martinis (credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

One of the best-loved cocktails around, the martini is a true American classic enjoying a strong resurgence in recent years. While the martini has never gone out of style, San Francisco martini bars are drawing in the crowds, as bartenders whip up incredible blends of deliciousness.

Bartender James Martin (Courtesy of Blondie's Bar)

James Martin
Blondie's Bar
540 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 864-2419

Blondie's Bar has been around since 1991 serving up specialty martinis along with live music, just for the fun of it. The place is a favorite drinking spot in a top destination neighborhood loaded with some pretty awesome restaurants, cafes and bars. Blondie's makes the absolute best martinis around, each served in a perfectly sized 16-ounce glass. The martinis here are classic! Plus you've got to love the refill glass sitting right there. Choose a garnish from the bar's abundance of garnishes and make that martini your personal best. With a ton of specialty martinis to choose from, you won't regret whatever you decide.

Blondie's offers different entertainment every night with DJs spinning '70s and '80s flashbacks, current pop and hip hop on Monday, Friday and Saturday nights, and groove to live jazz, blues, honky tonk or swing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. And there's never a cover, so relax with a martini and get into the vibe.

Blondie's Bar owner/bartender Nicole DeWald created the entire cocktail menu 20 years ago. "'Swingers' the movie came out about a year later and EVERYONE was wanting martinis and Manhattans or anything served in a martini glass. Even though we opened in 1991, we really took off in '95/'96 after that movie came out. The Dutch got its name from the origin of Ketel One Vodka; it's Dutch, hence the name. Garnished with our house made stuffed bleu cheese olive, it's the most popular martini on the menu. All of the cocktails I created, which are on the menu board, are made by my entire staff the exact same way. They have creative license with their own recipes but not with my creations. Consistency is important."

Blondie's bartender James Martin is an ace at making the Dutch, the most popular drink at Blondie's Bar. Or have James whip up one of the other best martinis in town and slip into Blondie's Wetspot, the second bar here away from the crowd for some quiet time with your date or friends. Blondie's Wetspot is open Friday and Saturday nights, and is available to rent for special events.

The Dutch Martini (Courtesy of Blondie's Bar)

The Dutch Martini

  1. Fill a martini glass with ice, dry vermouth and soda water to chill the glass.
  2. Fill a pint glass with ice and free pour Ketel One Vodka until full.
  3. Shake the pint glass rigorously.
  4. Toss out the ingredients in the martini glass after the glass has been chilled.
  5. Pour a portion of the pint into the chilled martini glass and replenish as needed.
  6. Toss in a bleu cheese stuffed olive and drink up the Dutch yumminess!

Looking for something deliciously different? Blondie's offers an amazing lineup of original martinis, many lavishly embellished with one of Blondie's many garnish choices. Visit the website to view some of Blondie's favorite martinis and garnishes to yum it up!

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at


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