Originally built as a health club for business executives trying to shed pounds and rediscover their inner velociraptor, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa (111 North Post Oak Lane, 713-680-2626) has become better known as the former residence of George Herbert Walker Bush. The 41st president is now safely ensconced in the Memorial area, but he's still known to jog around the Houstonian's Astroturf trail or tip one back at its watering hole, simply named The Bar, next to the fine- dining restaurant Olivette. I wonder, what does the former leader of the free world like to tipple? Bartender Alex Farrer is happy to make me the prez's favorite cocktail, although he reveals that "he usually asks for a dry chardonnay or, after dinner, a Miller Lite." Farrer allows that the man does like a no-frills martini before dinner now and then. Farrer insists Old Forty-One never specifies a brand of gin, being an old- fashioned, straightforward gentleman drinker. But the bartender does use a specific bottle when making the former first martini.
The Houstonian's George Herbert Walker Bush martini: I drink the first one, and as is the case with good martinis, it whispers that I should have a second. I do. Toward the bottom of the second, I surprise myself by thinking, "Gosh darn it, but that W. may turn out all right after all." That's martini magic, all right.
One and a half shots Bombay Sapphire gin
Couple of drops Martini & Rossi dry white vermouth
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Chill a martini glass thoroughly. In a shaker with lots of ice, combine the ingredients and shake until frost forms on the shaker. Strain into the glass. Garnish with a large green pimento-stuffed Spanish olive on a toothpick.