What’s shakin’?
Splash Martini Bar owner puts the ‘art’ in martini

By Josh Perttunen - Enterprise Staff

March 27, 2014

 Dick Reinert, owner of Splash Martini Bar in Oconomowoc, demonstrates on Sunday how to shake a martini, while Heather Yohn watches. It was Yohn’s first day. Reinert says a good martini is cold and faithful to the recipe. Shaking with a flourish is also good for presentation.
Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff

OCONOMOWOC - At Splash Martini Bar, there is never a quandary over how to serve the bar’s signature drinks.

“Everything gets shaken,” said owner Dick Reinert. “There is no stirring.”

The location at 134 N. Main Street in Oconomowoc is a haven for conversation, trying new drinks or sipping old favorites, said Reinert, who still takes his turn behind the bar.

“There is ambience, a view of Lac La Belle and we keep it casual,” he said. “Some martini bars are strictly Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the jukebox, and nothing but martinis. We have contemporary music and serve beer in addition to the martinis.”

Reinert sat down with the Oconomowoc Enterprise to discuss what’s shaking after five years in business.   

ENTERPRISE: Why did you choose to put a martini bar in Oconomowoc? And what sets your establishment apart?

REINERT: We kind of took a chance when we designed it as a (mostly) martini bar. We said we’d give it six months and if it didn’t work, we’d turn it into a regular bar. Fortunately, the martinis had staying power and we didn’t have to make that shift.

We go the extra mile and puree our own fresh fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, lemons, limes and mangos. We also make sure to use top-shelf liquors and liqueurs.


ENTERPRISE: Do you remember your first martini?

REINERT: I tried a raspberry martini in a restaurant. The fresh quality of the fruits is what stuck with me.


ENTERPRISE: What do you need to do to make a good martini?

REINERT: The key to making a good martini is to shake vigorously, so that you get ice crystals in the shaker. You want the drink to be as cold it can be. Then you strain out the ice crystals when it goes into the glass.

Following the exact recipe is also very important. It doesn’t take much for the flavor to be off.


ENTERPRISE: What martinis are customer favorites?

REINERT: There is a Reese’s Peanut Butter martini with ice cream and real peanut butter. The Pop Rocks martini has real Pop Rocks rimming the glass. The No. 1 martini is the dirty martini, made with olive juice.


ENTERPRISE: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about martinis or about Splash?

REINERT: Martini flavors have been expanded so much since the James Bond era, where it was just gin and vodka. Now, flavors range from cranberry to pomegranate to grape. You can personalize according to taste. If you don’t like gin or vodka, we can use rum.


ENTERPRISE: Have you noticed any trends and what kind of demographics are you seeing?

REINERT: There is a wide range with our customers, from 21 years old to 60s. The most typical customers are between their 30s and 50s, but we’ve been trending younger. About 65 percent are women. And we’ve seen business increase by 30 percent this past year.


Email: Jperttunen@conleynet.com