This lychee martini recipe is a sophisticated, slightly sweet libation that used the exotic lychee fruit. It is similar to a vodka martini with but a bit more sweet and sour. Use your homemade lychee liqueur for this martini!
Mix all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and serve it straight up (strained without ice).
This lychee martini recipe features a homemade lychee syrup that you can make, but you can easily purchase a bottled lychee liqueur or syrup if you would like instead.
What is a Lychee?
Lychee is a fruit that is native to China the fruit also grows in places like Florida and Hawaii. It is colloquially known as an “alligator strawberry” for its red bumpy skin. The skin easily peels away to reveal the fruit of the lychee which is white and soft. The fruit is sweet and easily peels away from the large brown pit in the center. The lychee can be eaten on it’s own as a snack, added to salads or made into liqueurs or other cocktails.
You can find lychee fruit either canned or fresh. You’ll be able to find fresh lychees in grocery stores for between $5 and $7 a pound in specialty and Asian markets during the summer months. Just peel the thin red skin away from the white flesh and pop out the brown pit in the center. Now the flesh is ready to eat or use.
If you can’t find the fruit fresh, not to worry. It’s easy to find lychees canned year around.
Ingredients for a Lychee Martini
The ingredients for a lychee martini recipe are what you would expect for a martini, just with the added twist of lychee! Use lychee syrup or lychee liqueur (one or the other, you don’t need both!).
This is a cocktail that you can use fun garnishes for. I used a slice of watermelon, but you can use lychees or a twist of orange instead. Any fruit that you’d like to use will work for this drink.
- Lychee syrup or lychee liqueur: Add one or the other, not both! Either add lychee syrup from a can of lychees or you can make your own lychee liqueur.
- Vodka: This drink is traditionally made with vodka. In a pinch, you can also use white rum.
- Sweet and sour: Sweet in sour is a must for this drink. It will balance out the drink.
- Vermouth: Sweet vermouth is always a requirement when you hear the word “martini”. It’s a sweet fortified wine that often has botanicals added to it. You can add as much, or as little, as you’d like.
- Garnish: While garnish isn’t a necessity, it is a nice touch. Add lychees or, if you don’t have access to lychees, add a sweet fruit like a slice of watermelon.
How to Make a Lychee Martini
Making a good lychee martini is all about the ingredients… and lots of ice.
Take a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. It’s best to use a high-quality ice instead of the ice you’d get from your freezer. Buying ice instead of getting it from the freezer will taste more pure and you’ll be able to taste the quality of your ingredients more so than your freezer ice.
After adding your ice to the cocktail shaker, add in the sweet vermouth, lychee liqueur, vodka and sweet & sour. Close the cocktail shaker with the lid and shake until the outside of the shaker becomes cold to the touch.
Strain your martini into a martini glass and garnish.