National Martini day is in June, but martinis are a go-to drink year round. Traditionally, martinis are made with gin or vodka and vermouth with bitters and an olive or lemon peel as garnish. This martini recipe skips the vermouth and uses a bit of hibiscus tea to create a unique and delicious vodka cocktail. Also called a Tartini, owing to the use of lime juice, this drink can be topped with a twisted lime peel.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce orange-flavored liqueur
- 1 ounce lime juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 3/4 ounce Hibiscus syrup
- Pour vodka and other ingredients into a mixing glass.
- Add ice and shake vigorously for 7 to 8 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a hibiscus flower or edible orchid.
- To make the hibiscus syrup, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of hibiscus tea. Let steep for 10 minutes.
- Take the tea bag out and add 1 cup of superfine (not powdered) sugar. Stir until all the sugar dissolves. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Ingredient Substitutions and Cocktail Tips
Herb-infused cocktails are becoming more popular are people look for ways to change up the taste of signature cocktails and add freshness and flavor that only fresh herbs can provide. If you don't have hibiscus tea, you can use a simple iced tea bag, chamomile or green tea bag.
In addition to tea, herbs such as lavender, rosemary and lemon balm are being used to infuse some flavor into martinis. Take a traditional martini recipe and simply muddle mint, minced lemon balm or garnish with lavender and you dial up the class (and the glass) of a martini cocktail recipe.
Fresh fruit is also gaining traction as a way to vary the taste of a martini. Cucumber, lychee, pear and passion fruit are some off-the-beaten-path fruits that can add zest to a traditional martini recipe.
Last, but not least, spices are being added to martinis to give the wow factor. Ginger, cayenne pepper, and black pepper are spicing up alcoholic cocktails to offer up some extra bite in each sip.
Garnish is the icing on the martini cake and that umbrella simply won't do. Here are some unique garnishes to add to your martini:
- Lemongrass spears
- A sprig of rosemary or mint
- Sriracha salt rim (only if you like the heat)
- A lollipop in a complimentary flavor
- Herbed ice cubes: made by adding mint, parsley, basil or other herbs. Add a few chunks of fresh fruit if you think it works.