Dan Tana's
9071 Santa Monica Blvd
West HollywoodCA 90069
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Dan Tana's

Master Your Home Bar By Mixing The Ultimate Vodka Martini

At legendary Italian restaurant Dan Tana’s, the classic vodka martini remains one of the most popular cocktails prepared at the iconic bar. The public’s enduring esteem for the drink lies in its simplicity and the timelessness of its flavors. While a cocktail at Dan Tana’s always makes for a fantastic night out, sometimes, you want to mix your favorite beverage at home and stay in. Here are some essential tips for crafting the perfect vodka martini at your home bar.

Plan Ahead and Stay Chilled

There’s a reason that vodka martinis are traditionally served straight up in a cocktail glass with a long stem: heat from your hand quickly warms the drink when there’s no ice, and a warm martini is no way to begin a fantastic evening. The ideal solution is to keep your vodka in the freezer so it requires less time to chill when mixing. To keep things even colder, store your cocktail shaker and glasses in the freezer.

Use Only Good Quality Vodka

If you’re lounging by the pool sipping a sugary cocktail filled with fruit juice and ice, you probably won’t notice if the vodka isn’t of the highest quality. A vodka martini, on the other hand, is only made from a few simple ingredients and truly allows the purity of the vodka to shine. This is definitely the time to pass on the plastic bottle, bottom-shelf fare and go with something worthy of the clean, sophisticated flavors of this modern-day classic. Two ounces of good quality vodka is the basis for any perfectly mixed martini.

Stirred, not Shaken

Don’t Fear Vermouth, but Don’t go Overboard Either

We’ve become a nation of drinkers who think they hate vermouth, and much of the blame for this can be traced back to improper storage. Vermouth is a fortified wine and, like wine, needs to be stored in the refrigerator after opening for optimal freshness. Your vermouth will last up to a month in the fridge, but beyond that it will spoil quickly and need to be replaced. A vodka martini needs to have an essence of dry vermouth, but adding too much can easily overpower the purity of the drink. Try adding a splash of dry vermouth to the ice in your mixing glass, then swirling it around for a few seconds and straining the excess. You should end up with about ¾ of an ounce which will provide your vodka martini with the appropriate amount of backbone.   

Bond was Wrong; Stir, Don’t Shake

Shaking cocktails is fun, cathartic, and looks so cool they’ve even made movies about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s suitable for every type of drink. For cocktails containing cloudy liquids such as citrus juice or thick sweeteners like honey or simple syrup, shaking provides a way to emulsify the liquids and bring the ingredients together into a cohesive unit. A vodka martini requires no such enhancement, and shaking will only cause small shards to break off of the ice and into your drink, diluting your valuable vodka. 50-60 seconds of vigorous stirring with ice should be enough to get your vodka martini beautifully chilled, and ready to be strained and garnished with an olive or lemon twist. 

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Our History

Not being trendy is actually a trend in itself. Dan Tana's on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA is an Italian restaurant that prefers to keep the same ambiance and aura that it has had since it opened in 1964. This is a part of its charm, and that has made it a favorite of many locals as well as a new favorite to newcomers. Knowing some of the history of Dan Tana's helps customers realize why keeping the restaurant/bar the same over the decades is so important.

How It All Began

Dan Tana was a Yugoslavian soccer player who had started the entire idea. Naming the restaurant after himself, it started off slow but steady in 1964. With a Rat Pack theme and a delicious menu, the icon set the stage for success. Dan Tana kept the kitchen open until 12:30 a.m., allowing people to have a late night meal. Other restaurants were closing earlier, giving the Dan Tana the edge with this great marketing strategy.

Adding Culture

When the Troubadour was built in the '70's, the Dan Tana skyrocketed in sales, being the "hot spot" to go after a show. With famous performers such as Elton John, Cat Stevens, and Van Morrison playing nearby, the restaurant was always a late night hit after the music ended. During the following years, it became popular with celebrities, and many a night you could see a famous star mingling with the neighborhood regulars. With a laid-back atmosphere and décor reminiscent of the Sinatra era, it has an easy-going feel that many enjoy. 

Classic Atmosphere

Celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Angie Dickenson, Johnny Carson, Harry Dean Stanton, and Jack Nicholson have all been regulars over the years, and several others have joined in along the years. Being right down the road from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences helps keep the culture alive in the area, and the clientele show it. The seventeen tables of the Dan Tana are booked nightly, so it is best to call for a reservation if you happen to be in the area.

Keeping the History

This atmosphere lives on today, with current owner Sonja Perencevic running the show, seasoned chef Neno Mladenovic serving up specialties that have not changed since the doors have opened, and head bartender Michael Gotovac mixing up the beverages. Walking through the doors of the Dan Tana will instantly put you back to another era, a time when music and the big screen were in everyone's mind and the fun of going out for a leisurely dinner with your friends or family was part of your normal routine.

From the red and white checkered tablecloths to the Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, the Italian feel and flare has not changed in decades. The menu still boasts favorites such as calamari fritti, chicken Parmesan, and Italian spaghetti and meatballs. The clientele is getting a bit younger, with actors and actresses of the next generation joining in with their predecessors. This doesn't mean the aura will change, however. It is just being shared with new people. Not being trendy is a trend in itself. 

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