I visited the other night and necessarily having to sit in the bar on a Friday night, it seemed appropriate to have a Martini to start. Among the several cocktails on the relatively short beverage list, each for the short price of just $8, was the Gin Martini, which I ordered. No questions were asked about type of gin or garnish and a few minutes later a familiar, long-stemmed Martini glass was placed in front of me, dripping with condensation that was filled just with a clear liquid punctuated by some small pieces of ice floating top but unmarred by any garnish.
Though missing a cocktail olive or two (or three) skewered by a toothpick, this was the Martini you would have received at any decent establishment in Houston over the years until the advent of the craft cocktail movement and discovery of the qualities of quality and unspoiled vermouth in less than the past decade. This was gin, pure and simple, served straight-up in a Martini glass. At Reef it was very readily consumable Bombay Sapphire Gin that was shaken until very cold and poured alone into a frozen Martini glass. No vermouth. Certainly not a single dash of bitters. I like vermouth to be a part of my Martinis, but this drink was very enjoyable, and refreshing coming in on a warm and muggy evening. It was tough not to consume it too quickly, and I still had to look at the food menu. The palatability of the Bombay Sapphire was the biggest reason why this Martini went down so easily, but being served into a glass pulled from a freezer was another significant reason. Very cold gin tastes better than just cold gin, after all.
2600 Travis (at McGowen), 77006, (713) 526-8282