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Teatro Goldoni
1909 K St NW # 10

Stoli vanil
Shot and a half of Lavazza espresso
Equal parts white chocolate and dark chocolate Godiva liqueur
Dash of Kahlua
…and three espresso beans, “for good luck.”

Brian’s take: If there are two things at which Italians excel—other than wine and gelato and pasta and opera and film and fashion and Vespas and olives—they are art and coffee. So Omar, the head bartender at Teatro Goldoni, was wise to devise the former out of the latter: an artini he calls, with the characteristic flourish of a prestidigitator, “The Goldini.” This caffeinated wonder simultaneously picks you up as it knocks you down, making it the perfect drink for after work or after dinner. As soon as it hit my tongue, this velvety delight conjured a sensory cornucopia of things quintessentially Italian: long walks on the Seine, make-out sessions underneath the Eiffel Tower, yacht parties in Nice, topless first ladies, Reigns of Terror. When, in his Goldini-induced euphoria, Ted commandeered the piano and began belting out my favorite tunes originally written for accordion, I felt a pang of nostalgia for those lost European evenings of old. A coffee martini may not be the most original idea, but Omar has taken a good concept and rendered it his own with simplicity, elegance, and style. Was Leonardo the first to paint the last supper? Was Caravaggio the first to depict Bacchus? Was Bernini the first to sculpt Apollo and Daphne? Was Mussolini the first to hang from his feet in a public square? Surely not—but they were masters, the ones whom history remembers, the ones who looked at the tasks that lay before them and set out to execute them with definitive flair.

On a scale of 1 to 5 olives: 5

Ted’s take: If we’ve learned anything from our artini-fueled wanderings over the past weeks, it is that each artini depends heavily on the bartender who gives it life. Based on the twin criteria of style and result, two bartenders have distinguished themselves from the pack: Rico at Poste Brasserie, and Omar at the Teatro Goldoni. On the latter’s feature night, we sampled the Goldini, not only the classiest dessert martini this side of the Atlantic but also a drink of immaculate balance and pristine presentation. Omar worked behind the bar with deftness and panache, serving up a cocktail sure to please both the moody masses and the effete elite. It is to Omar’s credit that such a classy drink does not prove, as Hamlet once quoth, “caviar to the general.”

On a scale of 1 to 5 olives: 4.5