Bar Beat

Stirred and Shaken: Tony Mandola's Italiantini

When you start with one of my favorite drinks, the vodka martini, and you introduce a little creativity from a savvy bartender at my favorite restaurant in the city, Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen (1962 W. Gray, 713-528-3474), the result is a can't-miss. The Italiantini, which combines Italian vodka and an aesthetically appealing layer of Italian red wine, looks and tastes like a million lire. Currency exchange rates aside, this is a great drink and a valuable addition to the already exceptional menu at this River Oaks seafood institution. I met a friend there on a recent Saturday night. We were just a couple of dudes having dinner together before heading out for more drinks, right? Yes, we were drinking 'tinis and, well, it just happened to be Pride Day, but we didn't let that stop us. No wonder the other guys at the bar were so chatty.

2 ounces Uvix Italian vodka

1 ounce sweet and sour mix

1 ounce Italian red wine

Shake vodka and sweet and sour mix with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass; pour red wine over a spoon slowly so that it floats on top of the vodka. Mangia!

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