5 to Try: Martinis

Martinis have traveled a long way from the mod-Bond days of vermouth and anti-stirring. They've morphed from a super-strong manly drink into a kaleidoscope cocktail with a variation to accommodate any kind of palate. From the classic martini in the Highland Tap cellar to a refreshing grapefruit-and-rosewater martini on the patio at Cafe di Sol, here's our call on the best martinis in Atlanta.

Updated: November 05, 2009

Shaken, Not Stirred

Highland Tap

1026 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

For those who want the classic presentation but prefer vodka and accessories, the underground steak cellar Highland Tap has you covered. Not only will your `tini arrive properly garnished with an olive or a twist, but a tumbler with the remaining elixir accompanies it, hotel-style. Stone walls, cellar venue, prime rib: There is no more darkly appropriate place to feel like you're in a classic movie than the Highland Tap.

Whiskey Blue

3377 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30316

For the trendy, new-school crowd that still puts an emphasis on Buckhead high society, we give you Whiskey Blue. This Hollywood-channeling lounge and bar caters to the dapperly dressed folks whose only drinking option should be in cocktail form. (Beer goes poorly with stilettos and suits.) Whiskey Blue's acai blueberry martini tastes like the best lemonade (yes, lemonade) you've ever had. It's like summer in glass. Try your best not to chug it.

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

75 14th St Ne, Atlanta, GA 30309

There is not a more proper hotel bar to sip a martini than Midtown's ultra-swank Four Seasons. While, really, you should go with an old-school martini in such a proper setting, we can't help but be lured by the bar's espresso-laced version. It tastes as if one of those hard-to-pass-up Starbucks double-shot drinks you can buy at a gas station was loaded with a heavy-handed Ketel One pour.

Cafe di Sol

640 N Highland Ave, Atlanta, GA 30306

We're suckers for grapefruit cocktails. Something about the tart and sweetness of pink grapefruit juice is uplifting in any season. Cafe di Sol, whose patio is one of the best along the North Highland drag, boasts a fresh-squeezed grapefruit martini with a touch of rosewater. It's just puckering enough to make you resist tossing it back, hunch-punch style.


45 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30308

While Highland Tap has the old-school presentation, if you want the properly executed original (gin and vermouth version), there is no more appropriate place than Atlanta's turn-back-the-clock bar, Drinkshop. And, there's no need to be afraid of a drink that is mostly gin. The vermouth takes just enough of the edge off and you will immediately ponder why martinis ever switched to vodka to begin with.