Seeking something that refreshes and revitalizes during your cocktail hour? The lemon rosemary martini may be the sea change you need to take your drinks to the next level. It’s ideal for those that enjoy martinis though if you’ve hesitated in having a traditional Tanqueray martini with a twist, the addition of lemon and rosemary makes it more approachable.
Ernest Hemingway was no doubt one of the biggest influencers of the original martini, though it was around long before ‘Papa’ wrote his prose about it in A Farewell to Arms. Some say it was around the late 1880s in California during the heat of the gold rush when bartender Jerry Thomas made a cocktail for the miners. Others say Martini & Rossi vermouth led to the creation original martini.
Say what you will though, but the martini has endured many twists (get it!). And while there are a number of them that you’ll find on drink lists across the globe, it seems that this California-style version with lemon and rosemary is one of the most enduring. Elevated with these flavors, it takes on a Mediterranean vibe that will whisk you away to the azure cliffs by the seaside.
It takes the tart and citrusy flavors of lemon and harmonizes them with that piney, woodsy rosemary taste for incredible balance. While this lemon rosemary martini only calls for an infused gin base and a dash of honey, you can add extra-dry vermouth for a more complex and classic martini drink. This 2-to-1 ratio is ideal to start with though for those that want it a bit stronger, go ahead with a heavier pour. On its own however you’ve got a cocktail that brings the refreshment anywhere and can be throw together in seconds.
Perfect for an elegant summer affair or a spiffy Friday happy hour cocktail, this drink will be one you’ll call upon any time. Even if that time is simply in the middle of winter and you want to envision yourself in a warm and flourishing environment bathed in sunshine.
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Finally, a note on the fresh ingredients: lemon and rosemary. For years we have traveled the world and wondered how the same cocktails could taste so vastly different. A mojito in Cuba tastes nothing like that of one in Las Vegas, for example. We originally chalked this up to the romance of an exotic locale, the view, the scent of the air – or the longing for home, but then we realized it actually might come down to something far more tangible: the fresh ingredients.
And for this reason, it is hard to make blanket statements regarding quantities required, and we recommend tasting the lemon juice first to make sure it isn’t a great deal acidic or sweeter than normal. You might even want to test a few various infusion strengths for your Lemon Rosemary Martini cocktail and add a little more or less lemon, depending on your desired taste. The same goes for the spring of the rosemary.
Other citrus-based cocktails like the Lemon & Basil Martini or Prohibition-Era White Lady Cocktail have the same issue but don’t be put off. Over time you will become an expert in your local lemon strength – if you are not already!
To complete, you ideally would have a sprig of fresh rosemary and a lemon peel twist which adds the perfect garnish to this visually pleasing cocktail. Try binding the lemon peel around the rosemary for a stunning pop of colors and beauty. Toast to the good times ahead with those you love or simply spoil yourself with a concoction that rewards you for all your efforts.
You may even want to pair this pretty cocktail for your next dinner party. Fresh seafood drizzled in lemon is a stunning match as are crab cakes. For appetizers, bacon-wrapped dates are a savory way to spoil your taste buds with incredible contrast from this refined and renowned cocktail.
Sometimes you want something a little sweeter, a little more herbaceous, a little - different.
- 1 bottle gin (700ml to 1 liter)
- 3 sprigs rosemary (washed)
- 3 lemons
- high-quality liquid honey
- 1 jar for infusion
- Cut one large lemon into slices and thread onto a washed sprig of rosemary
- Place into a 1-liter jar and pour in gin.
- Store in a cool, dark cupboard for one week.
- Double-strain gin out into the original bottle and chill in fridge or freezer
- Swirl honey around the base of a chilled martini glass
- Pour in lemon and honey-infused gin.
- Garnish with a lemon twist around a spring of rosemary. Perfecto!