Lychee Martini With a Homemade Lychee Liqueur

Lychee Martini
The beautiful Lychee Martini is simple, delicate, and a fantastic drink. Photo by Dylan Goldby at WelkinLight Photography/Moment/Getty Images
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
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The Lichitini (or Lychee Martini) is a luscious and sweet cocktail that features the sweet lychee fruit. It is a delicious vodka martini and very easy to make.

If you are unfamiliar with this super sweet fruit, try a whole fruit on its own to get a taste for its full flavor. Lychee have an interesting sour bite with a flavor that is like a strawberry mixed with watermelon and grapes. It is a nice contrast to the sweetness of a liqueur.

This martini recipe was originally written for a lychee liqueur. These can be hard to find though SOHO is available at many liquor stores and is a perfect option.

If you cannot find a commercial liqueur or simply love a DIY project, you will find recipes below for both a lychee syrup and a lychee liqueur. The syrup will get a Lychee Martini in your hand much faster, but the liqueur is fun to make as well.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces lychee liqueur or syrup* (recipes below)
  • Dash of lime juice
  • Garnish: pitted lychee

How to Make It

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.

  1. Shake well well.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Drop a lychee in the glass for a garnish.

How to Make Lychee Syrup

Lychee syrup is very easy to make. It is no different than any other flavored syrup, we simply use lychee fruits for the flavor. It takes less than an hour from start to finish and the finished syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Fresh lychee are often available in the summer months and take a little preparation. You will need to peel the lychee and remove the stone. Only the fleshy white fruit is needed.

You can also use canned lychee fruit and make this syrup year-round. Many international markets carry canned lychee.

  1. Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add 1/4 cup lychee fruit, reduce the heat and cover.
  4. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  6. Strain the fruit from the syrup and pour into a glass bottle with a tight-sealing lid.

Makes about 1 cup. Adjust this recipe by increasing the sugar and water equally.

Homemade Lychee Liqueur

Just a little more difficult, time is the biggest factor with this DIY lychee liqueur. It will take about 4 weeks to finish, so plan ahead.

This recipe makes about 16 ounces or little more than a pint (half of a standard bottle of vodka). I would recommend starting with this small batch until you perfect the recipe to your taste. Take notes on any adjustments you make and once you have your own signature lychee liqueur, feel free to make a larger batch.

  • 2 cup lychee fruit, cut in half
  • 375ml vodka
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 cup simple syrup (added after a month)

To make the liqueur:

  1. Combine the vodka, lychee, and lime zest in a container with a tight seal. A 16-ounce mason jar should be just about right.
  2. Seal the jar and give it a good shake.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks, shaking it every 1 to 2 days. Give it a taste test after two weeks, then again after three to see how the flavor is progressing. It may take longer than four weeks to get your ideal flavor.
  1. Once the liqueur is flavored to your liking, strain the fruit from the vodka through cheesecloth. Be sure to squeeze all of the liquid from the lychee.
  2. Strain again to ensure all of the fruit is removed. During this final filtering, it is a good idea to use a funnel, placing the cheesecloth inside. You can filter directly into the bottle that will store the finished liqueur.
  3. Add the simple syrup, tighten the lid and shake vigorously.

Test your new lychee liqueur. It should be slightly sweetened and have a soft lychee flavor.

  • If it is not sweet enough, add syrup in small amounts. Shake and test with each new addition until it suits your taste.
  • If you find that it is lacking both sweetness and fruit flavor, make and add lychee syrup instead of plain syrup.

Tip: Empty liquor bottles (especially those with cool, unique shapes) work well for storing homemade liqueurs. Just be sure that they are thoroughly cleaned. Give it the sniff test and if you smell any liquor, wash it again.