DRINKS It's Harry's Barwe mustn't forget it; it's not Harry's Restaurant. The drinks we serve, the bar itself, the people gathered around it, often in so many layers that they completely block both doorways . . . these are the essence of the place. Dark-lacquered wood, gray marble, Art Deco ashtrays. A large glass bowl of blood oranges. A huge, beautifully shaped glass carafe in which we still make my father's martini: a whole bottle of chilled gin and a little vermouth. Stir and pour into 18 glasses and put them in the freezer. When you serve the martini, this glass frosts like no other. Sit at the bar and watch the bartender make 24 Bellinis for the party upstairs. Bottle after bottle of cold, rosy peach puree, into the cocktail shaker with bottle after bottle of cold Prosecco. Twenty-four Bellini glasses filled with ice, lined up on a tray. Dump out the ice, pour in the rosy Bellini until the glass is full, with a quarter-inch of foam on top. It's been our most popular drink since my father invented it sometime in the thirties. It didn't have a name until he christened it in honor of the artist for the big Giovanni Bellini exposition in Venice in 1948. Tending bar is a fine art, and my father was an artist par excellence. He smiled all the time because he was enjoying what he was doing. At the same time he was effortlessly making one perfect drink after another. Here as elsewhere, simplicity was his trademark. He knew that almost everyone who comes into a bar wants one of the most common drinksthere are perhaps 20 of themand those are the ones he had at his fingertips. Once in a while a customer would ask for something very esoteric or fancy. He would always say, gently and courteously, "Can you tell me how it is made? Then I can make it for you." The basic drinks are simple and are all variations of five kinds of spiritsgin, vodka, rum, whiskey, and brandycombined with sparkling water, fruit, vermouth, or liqueurs. Most of the drinks we sell are one or another of these combinations. But people's tastes do change, and the sales at the bar naturally reflect this. Just as in times of crisis or anxiety people always return to sweet, heavy traditional cooking, so there are moments for certain drinks. Sometimes gin is in; sometimes it's vodka. Some years people like sweet drinks; sometimes they won't touch them. Recently there's been a revival of the classic old sweet liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Cointreau. I can still remember the days when old Mr. Cointreau, well into his eighties, would drink seven or right of his own liqueurs every day. It's important to keep the atmosphere pleasant in a bar. I think that's easier to do in Italy than in the United States because in the United States people go to bars primarily to drink and perhaps get a little drunk. In Italy it's a social occasionto have a drink or two and to see people. Of course, once in a while you're having such a good time seeing people that you find yourself getting a little drunk. . . . But I'm always careful; if anybody drinks too many martinis, I intervene. My father set a standard for good drinks that we still try to meet. A good drink is very cold and strong enough that you know you're drinking something. I don't like it when bars serve a little splash in a big glassor when they put in too much ice to make it look like more. To keep drinks from getting watery, we always use large ice cubes instead of the small ones so many people seem to prefer. Ice machines that make large cubes are not so easy to find, but we insist on it. We keep bottles of gin, vodka, and vermouth in the refrigerator and always chill our glasses. The proportions of a drink are all-important. We have standard proportions for all our drinksbut we also know how to adjust them to please certain customers. But ICipriani, Arrigo is the author of 'Harry's Bar Cookbook' with ISBN 9780553070309 and ISBN 0553070304.