The key lime pie martini is one of the great joys that came out of the vodka martini craze of the last few decades. It is delicious, inviting and, yes, very tempting to have more than one!
If you enjoy the occasional piece of a key lime pie, then you have got to try this martini. It is a sweet, fruity mix of pineapple and lime backed up by vanilla vodka and triple sec. The really interesting aspect is the graham cracker rim, which finishes off the pie experience perfectly.
- Rim a chilled cocktail glass with finely crushed graham crackers.
- Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake well.
- Strain into the cocktail glass.
Tips for Making a Great Key Lime Pie Martini
The key lime pie martini is very easy to make and you can improve it with a little attention to each of the ingredients.
A clear vodka is an option for this cocktail, but I think you will find that vanilla vodka makes it just a little bit better.
That hint of sweet vanilla in the background brings balance to the drink and marries the pineapple and lime perfectly.
If you want to experiment with other vodkas, I would suggest using a plain cake or whipped cream vodka like Pinnacle Whipped or Three Olives Cake. These have those same sweet properties of vanilla and won't disturb the key lime pie taste with unnecessary flavors.
The Orange Liqueur
Triple sec is one of the most common orange liqueurs available. Skip those $5 bottles and upgrade to something that's a little more refined. Investing in a good triple sec like Cointreau or Marie Brizard is going to be useful in your bar and improve all of your cocktails, from the Margarita to the Sidecar.
Of course, there are other orange liqueurs that can also be used. I would stick with one of the light ones (in both color and flavor). A good curacao would be an excellent choice.
The Pineapple Juice
Fresh juice is best but you will need a good juicer to get it out of a pineapple (unless you feel like doing a lot of work with your muddler and strainer).
My tip for buying pineapple juice is to find the smallest cans possible. Unless you are serving key lime pie martinis to a crowd, this will help avoid waste. Opening one 6 or 8-ounce can is better than 64 ounces because pineapple doesn't keep as well as other juices, particularly in the cans it typically comes in.
The Lime Cordial
Lime cordial is an amplified version of a lime-flavored simple syrup and it is very easy to make at home.
There are a few substitutes available:
- Sweetened lime juice like Rose's (they make an actual 'cordial' as well though it's not as readily available).
- A boutique lime cordial like the 1883 Routin Lime Juice Cordial.
Buy 1883 Routin Lime Juice Cordial at Amazon.com
- Lime simple syrup.
- Lime liqueur (Marie Brizard's is again a favorite).
- KeKe Beach Key Lime Cream Liqueur (it will create a creamier cocktail).
The Graham Cracker Rim
The key to rimming a glass with graham crackers is to crush them as fine as possible. If the pieces are too big, they will not stick to the glass. Aim for pieces that are as fine as sugar.
- Use a clean coffee grinder to make quick work of a handful of crackers.
- Or crush the crackers with your muddler.
Use a lime wedge to wet the rim and consider mixing a little sugar into the crackers.
If you are not fond of a rimmed glass, add crackers to just half the glass and choose which side to sip from as you enjoy the martini.
How Strong Is the Key Lime Pie Martini?
The key lime pie martini is a relatively light cocktail. It is not the lightest drink nor the strongest, which is perfect for a casual martini night.
With an 80-proof vodka and 60-proof triple sec, the average key lime pie martini weighs in at right around 17 percent ABV (34 proof).