Mix up a French Martini with gin for a modern twist on a classic cocktail. Here’s a French Martini recipe, plus pro tips on making this Chambord cocktail great.
Despite its name, the French Martini cocktail is neither French nor a Martini. The cocktail was originally created in New York in the late ’80s, and it’s called a French Martini because one of the key ingredients is Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur from France. As for its Martini link? It’s traditionally served in the classic V-shaped Martini glass.
With its delicious mix of pineapple juice and black raspberry liqueur, the French Martini is flamboyantly fruity – and a snap to make.
While the original French Martini recipe calls for vodka, if you’re wondering whether you can make a French Martini with gin, the answer is yes. A gin base gives it a sophisticated dry finish with botanical complexity – just right for modern tastes.
Whip up this simple Chambord cocktail for your next dinner party.
The best French Martini is made with fresh ingredients and a dash of pizazz. “There’s no big secret to making a great French Martini at home,” says Dan Wyllie, cocktail expert and co-owner of Barrio eatery and bar in Byron Bay. “Simply choose a premium vodka or gin, pick up a bottle of Chambord, and grab the freshest pineapple juice you can find.”
That said, Dan likes to combine fresh pineapple juice with pineapple juice syrup for “a delicate sweetness”.
The trick is to ensure you shake the ingredients well to create this cocktail’s luscious top layer, so pull out your flashiest bartender moves! “When shaken, pineapple juice naturally creates a foam that floats on top of the French Martini,” explains Dan. “The more you shake it, the frothier it becomes, so be sure to give this cocktail a really good shake.”
What’s the verdict – can you make a French Martini with gin? Dan is of the view that the French Martini should be made with gin. “Sure, you could make the French Martini with vodka, but why would you? It’s much better with gin,” he says. “We could describe this cocktail as well balanced, with just enough berry flavour and just enough sweet and tart from the pineapple.”
Gin, with its nuanced botanical notes, updates the French Martini cocktail with sophisticated complexity, explains Dan. “Depending on the type of gin used, there will be a different variety of botanicals, which add an aromatic note to this cocktail. The juniper in gin complements the Chambord in the French Martini recipe.”
A boutique gin like Forty Spotted Classic Tassie Gin will add depth with fresh herbal notes such as kaffir lime leaves, Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon peel.
Entertaining a crowd? Serve French Martinis with your starters. “I like to pair a gin French Martini with native Australian oysters or our cured kingfish with pickled cucumber and pink peppercorns,” says Dan. “The pink peppercorns enhance the botanicals in the gin.”
Everything ’80s is cool again – and the French Martini’s fun, fruity flavours and foamy finish create a delicious drink that encapsulates the decadence of the decade while being just as appealing today.