There’s never been a better time for the King of Cocktails: Every new restaurant or bar now must include a signature martini on the menu. (Sometimes there’s an entire section.) The thing is, even though these drinks adopt the moniker, they bear little resemblance to the classic gin- and vodka-based templates. Instead, they are evolved, high-concept recipes created by bartenders who, over the past 20 years, have absorbed every ingredient and mixology technique available to them.
This is the new normal in Martini Land, and who are we to argue? We’d rather sift through to sort out the true gems from the rhinestones. Mere riffs (a bit of sake added here, a dash of sherry there) didn’t cut it for this list — we wanted the true outliers that nevertheless live up to the martini mantle. Here, in order, are the ten best alt-inis in town.