Prime 121 Martini

A significant part of my childhood consisted of sitting with my family in front of a large, wood-enshrined television watching shows like I Dream of Jeannie and Gunsmoke while eating TV dinners on TV trays and drinking Grape Nehi. As I sat on the orange shag carpet of my suburban Denver home, I dreamed of living like one of the dames in the Rat Pack, preferably Angie Dickinson, hanging out in Vegas with Frank Sinatra and in New York with Jackie O, laughing and drinking martinis while the band played on. And while I don't remember longing to actually consume martinis, I do remember the Rat Pack looking fabulous while holding that archetypal alcoholic accessory. I also remember that the beauty of the cocktail was in the glass, not in the mysterious clear elixir inside. Sleek and sexy, like a woman in a gold lamé gown, the martini glass was an icon -- and still is today. These days, though, the place to see the quintessential martini is not my parents' living room, but a steakhouse. A steakhouse like Prime 121, with its handsome, classic feel complete with blood-red leather banquettes, dark wood, and a martini menu that the Rat Pack would swill at will. The Prime 121 signature cocktail ($15) is not just a drink, but a meal in itself. Three ounces of chopped lobster meat are served in a ten-ounce engraved (with "Prime 121") martini glass and topped with homemade Bloody Mary mix; a shot of frosty Grey Goose vodka comes on the side. Tough decision: Do you eat the lobster before or after the vodka is poured into the glass? If lobster martinis aren't your thing, try the Nehi Grape Cocktail ($7), made with Pearl vodka, Shakka Grape, soda and Sprite. With a cocktail this delicious, you may still miss Jeannie and Miss Kitty -- but you won't miss the TV dinner. -- Nancy Levine


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