Have you been to a martini bar? You know, the kind where they have eleventy-billion different flavors of martinis and you don’t even know where to start in choosing one? You’d like to try them all, except for the fact that they are like 12 bucks each…
Well, I’m here to solve your problem. Yeah, it’s fun to go out sometimes and just sit back, relax and let someone else do the cocktail shaking. BUT martinis really aren’t that complicated to make at home, and it’s a lot of fun to experiment with different flavor combinations! When you do it yourself, it’s fun and you save money. Winning.
We have been to a few different martini bars, and my son works at The Stuffed Olive, which has sooooooo many good flavors. Plus, my husband has a cocktail bar in our basement where he routinely mixes us up some of the yummiest concoctions.
Soooooo, I feel like I am fairly qualified to tutor you on my technique for making a martini. Yes, I invented this method. Listen and learn.
The story of my martini “technique”…
One Saturday, my husband was working all day and I was home. I thought it would be a nice idea to greet him with a cocktail when he got home from the hospital after his busy day.
I looked through the fridge to see what ingredients we had. I found some leftover chunks of fresh pineapple, a couple of peaches that were on the verge of being overly ripe pretty soon, and some fresh basil leaves. Hmmm….
We also had some vodka that had been infused with cucumbers.
Various flavors of homemade infused vodka can often be found in our fridge, because last Christmas I got my husband this infusion kit from Amazon, which started us off on a whole journey of, “What other things can we infuse in Vodka???” It’s a rabbit-hole, I’m telling ya….
Insider secret: There are a ton of excellent recipes in this kit, but don’t try the Reeses Pieces recipe for peanut butter vodka. We did. We shouldn’t have. 😦 You’ve been warned.
Anyway, we’ve tried a lot of things, but two that have “stuck” are black pepper infused vodka, for the best Bloody Marys, and cucumber infused vodka, which we make for these Cucumber Basil Martinis that my son taught us how to make last summer.
So on this particular day, I already had cucumber infused vodka. If you’re going to infuse your own vodka, I recommend that you do it a day or two before you intend to make your cocktails, because you want to give it plenty of time to release the yummy flavors into the vodka. Ideally, let it infuse for 2-4 days, before straining out the fruit, vegetables, or spices. Then your infused vodka is good to hang out in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks. It usually doesn’t last that long at our house though.
Make Your Own Simple Syrup
You can buy a bottle of simple syrup at the store, but I never understand why people do? I mean, it’s just water and sugar, which you most likely have on hand.
To make it yourself, simple mix equal parts sugar and water and simmer on low heat until the sugar fully dissolves. That. Is. It. I usually do 1 cup and 1 cup, which is enough for several drinks. Whatever you have left over can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
And even better, you can make flavored simple syrups! In the summer, when my herb garden is in full swing, I regularly make mint and basil simple syrups with my fresh herbs. Just follow the same procedure of heating your equal parts of sugar and water, but drop in a few leaves of fresh mint or basil. Simmer until it becomes a clear, thickened liquid, remove and discard the leaves, then pour into a mason jar and store in the fridge. So easy, yet so good.
Okay, now for the part I “invented”. When I saw the pineapple and peaches in my fridge needing to be used up, I first considered using it to infuse vodka, which is a good idea, but I didn’t have enough time for that. I would have needed at least 24 hours to let the peaches and pineapple soak in the vodka to get a good amount of flavor from it. So that was out.
Then I considered using the peaches and pineapple to make a fruit flavored simple syrup, which I had done before with rhubarb and had great results. But I already had some homemade mint simple syrup in the fridge and wanted to use that up.
So, I decided to use turn the fruit into a puree that could be used in place of fruit juice, which is often used in the various martinis we make.
I first started with the pineapple, by just tossing it into our Nutri Bullet Blender, and turning it into a smoothie of sorts. I added a little bit of water to get it to a more fluid consistency. Just add small amounts of water a little at a time until it’s a smoothie-like consistency.
After I blended until smooth, I poured it into a fine mesh strainer and used the back of a spoon to push it through the holes. Your goal is to separate as much of the juicy liquid as you can from the pulp of the fruit. You don’t want your martini to be too thick.
You can see the pureed pineapple in the Nutri Bullet cup in the picture below. Apparently I failed to get a pic of it in the strainer. 😞
Gather up your ingredients
Let’s recap what you need:
- Vodka (you can use plain, but infused cucumber will be so much better!) .
- Trip Sec or Cointreau
- Simple Syrup
- Fruit puree
- Lime juice (fresh)
- Fruits and herbs for garnish
Create your custom cocktail
In a cocktail shaker, mix together all of the above ingredients. Toss in a leaf or two of fresh mint if you have any extra. Add ice and shake vigorously. Using the strainer lid, pour into two martini glasses and garnish.
Mix & Match Your Flavors
We only had enough pineapple for one drink each of this flavor, so I simply repeated these same steps with the two peaches I had in the fridge to make a second round. They were just as delicious!
Give it a try!
Don’t be intimidated! This is so easy, and fun to play with different flavor variations. Over the past few months, we’ve done this with blackberries, raspberries, pears, rhubarb, melon….. Really, you can’t go wrong.
Pineapple Mint Martini
- 3 oz vodka infused with cucumber
- 2 oz pineapple puree or other fruit of your choice
- 1 oz Cointreau or triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 oz simple syrup flavor with fresh herbs of your choice
- fruits and herbs for garnish
- If using infused vodka, be sure to allow ample time for flavors to release–at least 24 hours. Plain vodka can be used, but results will not be the same.
- Create fruit puree by blending fruit of choice in a blender or Nutri Bullet until smooth. Add small amounts of water as needed to get a smoothie-like consistency.
- Create simple syrup by simmering equal parts water and sugar in a sauce pan over low heat until clear. Add fresh herbs, such as mint or basil, and allow to simmer until slightly thickened. Allow to cool and then discard herbs. Store in fridge (a mason jar works well) for up to 3 weeks.
- Add all ingredients for cocktail (except garnish) with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, then pour through strainer lid into two martini glasses.
- Garnish as desired.
If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear about your own flavor creations! Drop me a comment and let me know how they turn out!