The Strawberry and Lychee Martini is a beautiful Neo-Martini. Though sweet and fruity it is a little heavier and richer than other Neo-Martinis. The gin base and addition of Sloe gin gives it an extra something. While many Neo-Martinis are popular, this one adds layers of complexity to mere popularity. A quality drink, and an excellent addition to many a cocktail menu.
For a time I worked in a Martini Bar in London. There we had an extensive Martini Menu. This featured a wide array of real Martinis and Martini variants – proper alcoholic powerhouses. But it also contained a large number of Neo-Martinis. Typically light, fruity and highly approachable drinks which were very popular. Although confusingly they were often called so-and-so Martini, making it hard for customers to determine in advance the actual strength of the drink they ordered.
The Strawberry and Lychee Martini was one of the most popular of these Neo-Martinis. As it was already on the menu when I arrived and since no-one I know took credit for its creation, I consider it to be a House cocktail.
The flavours of strawberry and lychee are understandably going to influence the ingredients list for this one. But unlike the fruity influence over say the Apple and Raspberry Martini, they do not completely dominate it.
To begin with, I don’t recommend using fresh fruit for this one. Fresh lychees are just a pain to peel and use. And although fresh strawberries can be good, the quality of their taste varies significantly during the year. If you happen to have some really sexy strawberries in, then go ahead and use them. Otherwise a good strawberry puree is actually preferable.
Likewise, either lychee juice or lychee puree is preferably to fresh lychees. Though since lychee puree is so liquid compared to other purees, they are effectively the same thing. If you have some you can also use a little lychee liqueur. Kwai Feh is my favourite, though there are plenty other good ones out there.
As mentioned, the Strawberry and Lychee Martini uses a gin base and adds Sloe gin for depth of flavour. This use of Sloe gin makes the addition of a strawberry liqueur undesirable. The Sloe gin accomplishes more than it would, so it is better omitted.
Strawberry and Lychee Martini
Due to the use of either fresh muddled strawberries or a thick strawberry puree, the Strawberry and Lychee Martini is best shaken.
If you have access to some damn sexy strawberries, then start by muddling a couple into your Boston glass. Then add: one shot gin; half a shot Sloe gin; half a shot lychee liqueur; a little less than the juice of half a lemon; one shot strawberry puree; and one shot lychee puree.
Shake it all up, then double strain into a martini glass or equivalent.
Note that since there are no actual juices used here you almost have to use both purees to achieve the correct volume for the drink. Hence why using purees is actually preferably to using fresh fruit in this case.
Garnish with one sexy strawberry.