Despite how it looks, we did not poll our team for their favorite Martinis of the year. This is simply how it shook out. That the timeless classic would be dominating our year-end list, however, is hardly surprising. In 2022, not only were we observing Martini madness from the sidelines as bartenders put their personal spins on brine and brought back the V-shaped glass, we were active participants in the classic’s skyrocketing popularity. While our most memorable drinks of the past year are alike in name, the breadth of expressions—ultra dirty to teeny tiny—is a testament to the trend’s impact, and its ultimate staying power. Spicy tequila drinks, throwback recipes and amaro cocktails aren’t going anywhere either; here are our favorites from the past year.
At London’s Tayēr + Elementary, the bar team, helmed by Monica Berg and Alex Kratena, takes the notion of the mini cocktail to its logical end with the One Sip Martini. The combination of vodka, Ambrato vermouth and a dash of fino sherry is garnished with a blue cheese–stuffed olive and arrives in a veladora mezcal glass. Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about the joys (and requisite challenges) of scaling up a cocktail, but to deliver a precisely calibrated, utterly satisfying Martini experience in a single sip is something I can’t stop thinking about. —Chloe Frechette, senior editor
Spicy with tequila is my love language. So naturally, Barely Disfigured’s Dirty Old Man had my heart this year. The combination of tequila, mezcal and just the right amount of spice in their chile-infused Aperol—all enjoyed while sitting at the sultry, dimly lit bar—won me over a little too easily. —Liina Paavonpera, visual producer
In 2022, no one was safe from the dirty Martini juggernaut, whether it appeared by name or arrived hiding in plain sight, like this sophisticated refurb of the steakhouse staple. A combination of gin, blanc vermouth, fino sherry, Espelette pepper liqueur, celery bitters and a touch of saline solution, Temple Bar’s retort to the “extra dirty” request is a drink I returned to at least a half-dozen times since I first had it in the spring. It’s proof that there truly is a dirty Martini out there for everyone. —Talia Baiocchi, editor-in-chief
Silver Lyan’s menu is like a bingo card for the past year’s drinking trends: Jell-O shots, Appletinis and oyster-accompanied Martinis can all be found there, along with the iconic microwaved Manhattan. The drinks are all fun and inventive, but if I had to pick my favorite serve, it would be the Silver Service Martini, particularly the timeless and simple 50/50. I just can’t deny the indulgent vibe of Martini service. —Mary Anne Porto, associate editor
Dirty Old Man
Red chile–infused Aperol adds spice to the combination of tequila, mezcal and pineapple.
Salt & Pepper Martini
A spicy-savory Martini thanks to sherry, celery bitters and Giffard Piment d’Espelette.
It’s been the Mezcal Negroni’s world for some time now, but the most nuanced play on the theme that I had this year came from Sarah Morrissey, back in mid-February, at Ernesto’s. Calling on Atamán vermouth, a manzanilla-based bottling with bitter orange and pronounced chocolatey flavors, her Negroni Absinthe builds on Cappelletti, crème de cacao and, of course, mezcal. A few dashes of absinthe spritzed directly in the glass lend an herbal note that makes for a downright elegant take on a heavy-hitting template. —Lizzie Munro, art director
Is the dirty tequila Martini a classic? Of course not. But 2022 was the year it became a thing. And at Jeremy’s—a new cocktail bar from the Upper East Side butcher Schaller & Weber—it reaches a satisfying conclusion of brine and brawn, care of San Bartolo mezcal and a coppa-stuffed olive garnish. —Allison Hamlin, director of network development
Your Martini is missing MSG. Seriously. If you don’t typically drink dirty Martinis, let this be your gateway cocktail. Amid the dirty Martini boom of 2022 and its call for housemade brines, the MSG olive brine gives an umami flavor that is irresistibly savory and packs a punch. —Irina Groushevaia, social media editor
Confession: I haven’t ever actually ordered my favorite cocktail of 2022. Instead, on several trips to Mabel’s Gone Fishing, I’ve taken one sip of a friend’s La Rambla before claiming it as my own. This isn’t a knock on the rest of the Spain- and sea-inflected drinks menu, with its bracing G&Ts and a Negroni accented by apricot, but there’s something about the La Rambla, which balances bitter citrus and Braulio with bright passion fruit. Such a sunset-hued reminder of warmer days is always welcome—yes, even in San Diego. —Catherine Sweet, copy editor