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The best martinis in Philadelphia

Dry or dirty?
The Paris en Philly martini at Square 1682. | Provided
The Paris en Philly martini at Square 1682. Provided

E.B. White once described the martini as “the elixir of solitude” and simply thinking of one conjures images of smoky retro lounges, jazz singers and “Mad Men.” The standard form of this cocktail contains dry gin and vermouth (2:1 ratio, respectively) but everyone has their preferred variations. Whether you like yours dry (with dry white vermouth), dirty (with a splash of olive juice) or perfect (no vermouth at all!), these Philly bars have something to whet your thirst for a martini.

Townsend

Aside from being named in Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America (coming out in August 2017), this shining jewel of a restaurant on Passyunk Avenue has an out-of-this-world cocktail program. Jeff Jaggers, bar manager at Townsend, has a special martini on the menu: Two Paths, One Way. It refreshingly combines gin, blanc vermouth, Genepy, Jamaican rum and lavender bitters.

Red Owl Tavern

So you like your martinis dirty? Head over to the Red Owl Tavern in Old City for lead bartender Kyle Darrow’s Pigalle. This dirty martini shakes things up with Bulldog Gin and is topped with cornichon brine with French minipickles as a garnish. Ooh la la!

Square 1682

The French theme continues with Square 1682’s Paris en Philly. Created by lead bartender Daniel Kulisek, it features dandelion and burdock bitters, Lillet Rose, Philadelphia Distilling’s Bluecoat Gin and comes garnished with an extra-long lemon twist.