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David Wondrich
Author and cocktail consultant, 5 Ninth, 5 Ninth Ave. (opening May)

Cocktail Philosophy: Strong and simple.

Biggest Cocktail Pet Peeve:
Bartenders who wiggle, rather than shake, a cocktail. "Almost any drink tastes better when it's cold," says Wondrich. "Even a bad one."

Craziest Concoction Attempted:
"This thing" combining Xiaoshing wine, overproof mao-tai, and medicinal liqueur. "It was truly hair-raising," recalls Wondrich. "Pretty much all Chinese booze has this penetrating taste of mold."

Gin or Vodka Martini? Shaken or Stirred?:
"A properly chilled gin martini has got that 'this is increasing my I.Q. even as I'm sipping it' edge." He stirs it because "it gets it a couple degrees colder." His theory? Banging all that ice generates some heat.