Dollar Burgers and a Rat Pack Martini

Tuesday being dollar burger night at Bar Louie, I offered to take my wife out to dinner. When we got there, we were seated in the bar area and I immediately took out the dollar burger menu and placed it in front of her, and the temptation worked – and my reputation as a cheapskate was preserved and we had a great night out without a big hit to the cash.

The dollar burgers are more than what you would expect for a buck. Big and thick, filling up the entire bun, cooked just right with a small amount of pink still in the middle, it ranks right along the higher-priced gourmet burgers found at other restaurants for a lot more money. The bun was fresh and soft. It comes with lettuce, with extra toppings ranging from 25 cents to 75 cents, so even with the extra toppings, you still get off cheap for two or three dollars for one of the best burger bargains in America.

Right next to our table, there is a large print of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra – the “Rat Pack.” It’s a great picture, they’re all smiles, drinking and smoking (I remember those days, when everybody smoked), and it sets a great tone for this modestly upscale destination with the Tuesday deal, where I can impress my wife and still not spend more than twenty dollars. My wife ordered a mango margarita and I ordered a “Rat Pack Martini,” and it felt like Dean, Sammy and Frank were in the next booth, laughing it up.

The Rat Pack Martini is a modest departure from the traditional, mixing Grey Goose vodka, Bombay gin, and Noilly Prat vermouth, the perfect French vermouth for a dry martini. No good bar should be without it, and every home bartender should have a bottle. While some bars try to budget their way through a martini with a bottom-shelf brand thinking nobody really cares about the vermouth, I give kudos to Bar Louie for knowing the difference and mixing my drink with the real deal.

Traditionally of course, vodka doesn’t belong in a martini. But the combination of Grey Goose and Bombay is brilliant. It still preserves the botanical aroma and flavor of the gin while toning down the juniper just a bit, and it’s a great combination.

I don’t know the proportions the bartender uses, but my guess is this: Two parts Grey Goose vodka, two parts Bombay gin, and one part Noilly Prat vermouth.

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