The Pepperoncini Martini, Saute

The Pepperoncini Martini, Saute (Barbara haddock Taylor Photo / September 5, 2011)

When in doubt, order a martini. Vodka or gin, shaken or stirred — a martini makes a statement.

It's classic, sophisticated, refined. At Saute, the popular upscale corner bar in Canton, I had the pleasant problem of choosing from the extensive selection of martinis.

So in the spirit of adventure, I ordered the most intriguing of options: the Pepperoncini Martini. Salty and sassy, it has become one of my go-to drinks when in the neighborhood.

Owner and bartender Terri Carey says the Pepperoncini Martini is one of her favorites as well (to drink and to make) because “it's such a conversation piece.” She's talking about the presentation: served neatly in a stemless glass, the clear, clean liquor is garnished with a full-sized pepperoncini that floats daringly in the center.

Carey likens the taste it to a Dirty Martini with a kick. She's right. Instead of olive, the vodka is shaken with pepperoncini juice, creating a crisp, spicy infusion. Each tangy taste is savory and satisfying, as though you're drinking an appetizer.

Looking for even more fire? I recommend juicing the garnish itself. The added heat won't last for long; the chilly vodka tempers the potent pepper nicely.

Bold but simple, this drink commands attention and wields power. I sat among a group of men drinking draft beers and unidentifiable mixed drinks while I proudly sipped on this far more mysterious — and seemingly dangerous — concoction.

It was a statement all my own.

How to Make a Pepperoncini Martini
1.5 oz. Grey Goose vodka
1 tbsp. pepperoncini juice
1 pepperoncini

Pour liquor and pepperoncini juice in a martini shaker with ice. Shake well.
Serve straight up, garnish with a pepperoncini.

Where to Get a Pepperoncini Martini
Saute Restaurant & Bar
2844 Hudson St., Canton
410.327.2883
www.sauteofbaltimore.com
$9