We all know it — the martini is arguably the best way to drink a glass of almost straight liquor and have it still taste good. In the classic drink, you’d expect some olive brine or maybe a lemon twist, but in some cases, bartenders have been known to branch out.

These local drinks are great examples of those ideas, offering inventive twists on the popular cocktails that test the limits of what makes a martini a martini.


At Palmetto, the cocktail menu is organized by categories of drinks. And if the category of drink you land on is a dirty martini with pickled fennel and yuzu in it ($15), then, by god, that’s what you’ll get.

Palmetto is located at 309 Knickerbocker Avenue.

Ra Ra Rhino

Enter through photo booth in the newly-opened Dromedary Doughnuts to find Ra Ra Rhino, another eclectic Bushwick bar offering a formidable cocktail program. One martini has a backbone of vegemite infused gin ($19), while another includes dill aquavit. ($17) Come for the masterful dirty martini, stay for the creative riffs on the martini.

Ra Ra Rhino is located at 1329 Willoughby Avenue.


Another Bushwick newcomer is Maloya, which has been landing local notices for its work repping the food of Réunion, and as such, their martini includes rum — specially, réunion island rhum grand arome rum. ($16) The drink’s flavor profile appears to tie up nicely with an olive-thyme brine.

Maloya is located at 983 Flushing Avenue.

Santa Panza

Situated alongside the Bushwick/Bed-Stuy border, this one’s for the Myrtle-Broadway bitches (gender neutral). Santa Panza offers a take on the espresso martini, the vodka based drink that was once described by New York magazine as “the must-order drink of 2021.” The version at Santa Panza features coconut and creme de cacao, offering a bit more of a tropical take on the popular vodka-based cocktail. ($15)

Santa Panza is located at 1079 Broadway.

Yours Sincerely

Sure, okay, everyone has an espresso martini on the menu these days, but have you tried a “coffee martini” that’s made with cold brew and includes reduced Guinness, oat milk, and thyme? ($15) Didn’t think so.

Yours Sincerely is located at 41 Wilson Avenue.

Father Knows Best

Just a hop and a skip past Irving Square Park, Father Knows Best offers a well-developed cocktail program. Among its developments are a dirty martini made with celery bitters — a vegetal take on the classic ($15).

Father Knows Best is located at 611A Wilson Avenue.

Mr. Melo

Rounding out the list is this spot on the eastern border of Williamsburg that offers an inventive cocktail program that includes a feta brine martini that’s made with feta, olives, and white vermouth ($13). The addition of feta takes this boozy drink up a notch in the savory department.

Mr. Melo is located at 61 Withers Street.

Top image taken by Kristen Kornbluth for Bushwick Daily.

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