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| Booze |

Martini Night at Ava

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As if I needed another excuse to indulge in a cocktail or two, I just found out that Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar is doing a special promotion on martinis. Every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m., they have a list of five specialty cocktails to choose from, at just $5 each. And these aren't some weak, boring drinks either. These are serious libations that mesh perfectly with Ava's swank lounge scene.

I met a group of girlfriends there last Wednesday and we decided to order one of each drink and then pass them around in order to choose our favorites. The first one I sampled was the "Peppa-tini," which was basically a big cup o' vodka garnished with frozen grapes, jalapeno and Fresno chiles. The grape added a subtly fresh sweetness, while the peppery kick intensified as you consumed the drink. It was delightfully low-key, and I could easily get tipsy on just one. Not bad for $5.

There were two fruity concoctions on the menu: a raspberry martini and a grapefruit version. We passed these two back and forth trying to decide which we preferred. They were both perfect summery cocktails. Dubbed "The Fling," the grapefruit variety was a mixture of vodka and squeezed-to-order fresh grapefruit juice with a shot of grenadine thrown in for color and sweetness. The raspberry was beautifully pink, not syrupy sweet, and ridiculously drinkable.

Rounding out the list were two non-vodka based cocktails, including the Skinny Marga-tini, a blend of tequila, fresh lime juice, and water sweetened with Splenda, and the Buttered Bourbon with Bailey's Irish Cream, Bourbon, and a dried mission fig garnish. The Skinny Marga-tini was the most popular drink of the night, with its effortless lightness. But I was partial to the Buttered Bourbon, though would probably order it as a dessert instead of a dinner cocktail. It was like drinking a lusciously creamy cup of java and getting more than just a caffeinated buzz from it.

A glamorous crowd, chic ambiance, and $5 martinis make Ava the place to be on Wednesday nights.


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