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August 19, 2009

Sipping a cilantro martini at Green Cilantro

cilantroWhen I first heard of the Cilantro Martini at the new Green Cilanto in Fells Point, I knew I had to try it.

Mint makes regular appearances in mixed drinks like the mojito and, of course, the mint julep.

But cilantro? In a cocktail? 

The menu lists the Cilantro Martini at $10, but the two times I've been there, the servers have insisted it's $6.75. That makes it one of the cheaper martinis in the city.

Not being one to knock a discount (I'm pretty sure they didn't know I was reviewing the drink), I didn't quibble about the price.

The martini is made with citron vodka, a splash of gin and cilantro and limes muddled in sugar. It's served in a stemless martini glass -- a non-traditional way to serve a non-traditional drink ...

"We sell quite a few," a bartender named John said when I called. 

How was it? Refreshing. Really refreshing, actually. Mint can have a sharp flavor, and it can be hard to find middle ground when you're using mint. But cilantro sets a much softer tone in a drink.

My only problem with the martini: They didn't strain it well enough. There were chunks of cilantro floating in the top of the drink. And that, gang, is almost unacceptable.

I say 'almost' because I didn't let it stop me from drinking the martini. But it is a potential turnoff. Martinis aren't supposed to have anything floating in them (except, maybe, olives that have somehow escaped the little plastic sword thingy). 

Another potential turnoff: the cilantro. Before reading this Sun piece, I had no idea about the deep-seated hatred some people harbor for cilantro. Geez.

If you're not a cilantro-hater, and you don't mind a few little green bits of the herb bobbing around the rim of your drink, give the Cilantro Martini a shot.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:50 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Hmmmm. At first I was prepared to be repulsed. But between citron vodka, lime, AND cilantro, I could almost see this working, in an exotic-mixture sort of way.....

I wonder if this qualifies as an herbal remedy ...

Any lingering Phish fans want to weigh in here?

How about I see you and raise you with MINT BEER a couple of feet up Broadway on Thursday night?

But you still don't agree with the name - correct?

I like Evan's suggestion of renaming it Xtreme Cilantro.

Then, they could set up the Cilantro Cannon behind the bar. When people gave the bartenders big tips, instead of ringing a bell or something lame like that, they could fire the Cilantro Cannon.

Think about it: Cilantro confetti would rain on everyone inside the place. It would be like New Year's Eve, only so much more delicious.

The issue is you would have that soapy cilantro smell on you once you left.

However, it might work if they handed you a t-shirt saying, "I got cilantro'd at Xtreme Cilantro" Then people would realize why you smell like fresh pico de gallo.

Drink floaties are the worst!

sorry yah man, but gonna have to split hairs here. vodka martini's a really just cocktails, not martini's (despite the markup).

and most vodka "martini's" have pieces of whatever is mixed with the vodka in the, lime, lemon, vanilla.

and if we're goin the cocktail route, then we all know how much mint can be in a what's the difference?

personally, as long as it's just a bit of cilantro, i think that would actually ad to the flavor.

like i said...splittin hairs


Ryan97ou, did you just split one of my hairs?

Hee hee.

Purists will tell you there is only one kind of martini -- a gin martini. I like to believe there can also be a vodka martini. As for the Cilantro "Martini" -- you're right, it's technically a cocktail.

I wouldn't say most martinis have chunks of whatnot floating in them, though. Many, yes. Not most.

Stopped by and tried the cilantro crush last night ... it was a wonderful, refreshing drink. Had to have another!

Not sure if they still make them, but when I was pulling shifts at Three... we had the "Three Herb Cocktail." It was mint, Thai basil and cilantro muddled with lime, then coconut rum, a dash of vanilla and ginger beer. Quite tasty, and that's coming from someone who despises cilantro.

I too hate cliantro but I had their cilantro crush last night and it was pretty damn good. It's so green it actually looks like it's good for you - and it hits HARD in the booze department.


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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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