Variations and Substitutions
The French martini has a fairly set recipe, but don't fret. You can still swap and play as you build your cocktail.
- Some modern recipes call for crème de cassis, a black currant liqueur, instead of raspberry liqueur.
- For a boozier cocktail, add pineapple liqueur instead of pineapple juice.
- Consider flavored vodka instead of plain, such as lemon, pomegranate, or vanilla.
- Serve on the rocks, adding an extra ounce of pineapple juice.
- Different brands and styles of vodka will alter the overall profile of the martini. Experiment to find which is best for your French martini.
Unlike most cocktails, the French martini doesn't call for a garnish. But, this is the perfect moment to shine and get creative with it.
- A lemon would add a balanced citrus touch. Do so with a wedge, wheel, or slice as well as a peel or ribbon.
- Mirror the raspberry flavor by piercing one or three whole fresh raspberries on a cocktail skewer.
- Consider piercing raspberries and lemon together. Whether a twirled lemon peel or lemon slice, the color contrast is a gorgeous touch.
- Likewise, a pineapple wedge would pair well with a fresh raspberry or two.
- Consider using all three; wrapping a pineapple wedge in a lemon peel, then placing the raspberry on top, securing the three with a skewer.
- To really add an over-the-top and tropical garnish, include a pineapple leaf.
About the French Martini
Despite the name, the only thing French about the French martini is the raspberry liqueur that was first used when created, Chambord. The French martini was created in New York City in the 1980s at a bar owned by a New York City restaurateur, Keith McNally, but it didn't appear in other bars until the mid-1990s. Its popularity was spurred on by the cocktail renaissance of the 80s and 90s, when flavored martinis first surged in popularity and widespread prevalence.
Often, bartenders use crème de cassis in place of the raspberry liqueur. The crisp and complex flavors of the black currant liqueur are sharper than the sweeter, softer raspberry liqueur flavors. The result is a French martini with a stronger bite.
Despite this martini's young life, it carries itself as though it was first stirred up a hundred years ago. So whether you prefer modern or classic cocktails, get the best of both worlds with the French martini.