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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Martini (2012)
1400 Del Monte Center, Monterey
Sure you can order the classic—shaken, not stirred—but with dozens of other martini and mixed-drink choices, it seems akin to going to Italy and ordering vanilla gelato. The Betty Paige, “an X-rated martini” with vodka, triple sec, cranberry and lime juice, is popular with the ladies, says bartender Fabian Sosornio, who adds that Lalla Grill makes fresh lime juice and sweet and sour. The Cabana features the restaurant’s own pineapple-and vanilla-infused rum it makes in-house. And then there’s Sosornio’s award-winning original creation, V-Splash, with fresh basil, lime juice, pineapple juice, tequila and St. Germain. The focus is fresh ingredients, and with Lalla Grill’s ever-growing list and new, inventive martinis, we’re pretty sure even James Bond could be convinced to try a new drink.