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Ultimate Specialty Drink
By Jay Cridlin
Published June 29, 2007
[Luis Santana | Times]
Uttering the name of this martini in public is enough to test even the manliest of men. Hey, if you're secure in your masculinity you can handle asking for a chocolate kiss, right?
The full winner's list
Every week for six months, tbt* asked its loyal readers to vote on their favorite bars, restaurants, personalities and attractions in Tampa Bay. And now we've compiled the winners into this collection of 25 ultimate choices.
The Italian Chocolate Kiss Martini at Bernini in Ybor City
No self-respecting men's magazine like GQ or Esquire would dare call a cocktail known as the Italian Chocolate Kiss Martini a "man's drink." So it would take a real man to walk into Ybor City's Bernini at happy hour, alone, plop down at the bar and order one for himself. It would take an even bigger man to ask the bartender how it's made (1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka, 1 ounce of white creme de cacao, and a half-ounce "kiss" of Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, shaken with ice and poured into a chilled martini glass lined with chocolate-syrup pinstripes - if you're into that sort of thing). It would take a man among men to call the Italian Chocolate Kiss Martini (a.k.a. Julio's Baci, a.k.a. "the Chocolate" if you're in a hurry) delicious, which it is - it's sweet, silky, chocolatey, refreshing and not overpowering, and a perfect preamble to a night in Ybor City. It wold take a man's man's man to call such a drink "silky" in the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper. Last week, I did all of these things, which I suppose makes me the manliest man in the history of mankind. It cost me $9.50 for the privilege. Cheers!
Bernini, 1702 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, (813) 248-0099.
How you voted
The Italian Chocolate Kiss Martini at Bernini in Ybor City: 42%
The Original Hawaiian Martini at Roy's in Tampa: 25%
The Champagne Sangria at Ceviche in Tampa/St. Pete: 21%