How To Make A (Not Very) French Martini
An icon of the ‘80s, the French Martini gets its name from a French raspberry liqueur, but this Aussie craft version gives this somewhat overly sweet cocktail a sharpness that brings it right up to date.
Isn’t it fascinating that it took someone until the 1980s to think of putting vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord together?
But that’s exactly what happened.
Well known now has the French martini, purely because Chambord is from France, this cocktail was in fact invented in a bar in New York.
But its fruity flavour and pearlescent pink hue quickly became a popular sight in watering holes around the world.
Chambord is a unique spirit. Made in the Loire Valley using red and black raspberries, cognac and Madagascan vanilla, and packaged in that iconic holy grenade shaped bottle, there’s nothing quite like it.
But that doesn’t mean adapting the cocktail recipe with Aussie craft spirits is impossible. Quite the opposite.
In fact, we think this one’s better than the original!
How To Make An Aussie French Martini
- 60ml vodka - we’re big fans of Underground Spirits’ vodka from the ACT
- 45ml pineapple
- 20ml Rhubi Mistelle
- 15ml lemon juice
1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake well for 30 seconds
2. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a twist of lemon peel
The result is much less sweet than the original, which dates the French martini somewhat. Plus the botanicals in the Rhubi Mistelle create a lovely layer of flavour you don’t get from Chambord.
But what is Rhubi Mistelle?
Mistelle is an ancient technique of distilling fruit and other plants that’s actually from France, so there’s still a link back to this cocktail’s origins. But it’s a method that’s all but disappeared.
This Victorian distillery has resurrected mistelle using rhubarb, hence the ‘Rhubi’ in the name and the brilliant red colour.
So not only is there fermented rhubarb juice in this aperitif, there are also some botanicals like gentian, grapefruit and mandarin skins that add layer upon layer of flavour.
The most interesting thing we found with this cocktail adaptation was without the lemon juice, the drink was quite bitter, no matter how much pineapple juice we added. The sourness of the citrus cuts into the bitterness and nullifies it—a bit like noise-cancelling headphones.
What you’re left with is a rich, smooth yet quite booze-forward cocktail that has both sweet and savoury characteristics, and a sharpness that cuts through any sweetness from the pineapple.
Using excellent Aussie craft spirits, we’ve turned a staid, overly sweet cocktail of the flaming ‘80s into something sophisticated, nuanced and surprising. You’re welcome!