This year’s signature summer cocktail: The French Martini

For the past two summers, my cocktail of choice has been a Bourbon Cherry Lemonade. Bourbon is an old friend of mine; we met in college while most of my classmates were taking up with tequila. I was more of a sipper than a shooter, so Bourbon and I got along splendidly.

I still love a good bourbon, and Bourbon Cherry Lemonades won’t disappear completely from my repertoire, but after two summers it’s time to find a new summer standby. The reason I have a summer drink is because I don’t usually keep a fully stocked bar. With a signature drink, you keep those ingredients on hand for whenever you have friends over for dinner, a party, or just want to enjoy a drink with dinner. A cooler of beer and a signature drink are usually all you need to have to throw a great afternoon barbecue.

After holding a few grueling auditions (sipping cocktails is such strenuous work), the French Martini edged out the competition with its inspiriting not-too-sweet, not-too-tart, not-too-heavy qualities as this year’s signature summer cocktail.

According to the Chambord website, the French Martini recipe is:

  • 1 1/2 oz Finlandia Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Chambord Liqueur
  • 2 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with raspberries.

I’ve found that using just 2 oz of pineapple juice makes for quite a strong and small martini. So, I recommend using a full 3 oz of pineapple juice.

I also recommend ditching the Finnish vodka (Finlandia). It’s made with barley and is suggested, I assume, because the Chambord and Finlandia are distributed by the same company in the US (Brown-Forman). It’s not a bad vodka, it’s just not the right vodka for this drink.

Since the drink is called a French Martini, I think it works much better with a French vodka. Vodkas produced in France are typically made with fermented wheat or grapes, which tend to produce a little sweeter and more delicate flavor than other grains or potatoes do. The popular French vodkas that are imported into the U.S. include Grey Goose, Ciroc, Pinnacle, Nuage, Idol, Integre, Rue 33, and IceKube. After trying these French vodkas, I settled on the Ciroc as my favorite for this drink. (If you don’t have any French vodkas in your collection, Hangar 1 is a great American alternative because of its distinct sweetness.)

French Martini, SimpliFried Style

  • 1 1/2 oz Ciroc Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Chambord Liqueur
  • 3 oz Pineapple Juice

After combining the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker, give it a vigorous shake, and then strain the liquid into a glass. If you have raspberries on hand, garnish with two on a toothpick (like you would two olives in a Dirty Martini).

If you drink alcohol, what is your preferred drink this summer?

8 comments posted

  1. Posted by Katie - 05/26/2011

    Yum — I love French Martinis! My signature summer cocktail this year is raspberry vodka with lemonade — delicious!

  2. Posted by Desi @ Domestic Diva in Training - 05/26/2011

    That looks amazing. I will have to put that on my to try list. I love a good martini.

    My signature summer coctail this year will be a Betty White, Silver Tequila, fresh lime, grenadine and a splash of something bubbly. (champagne if you are feeling fancy, 7up if you aren’t)

  3. Posted by Jess - 05/26/2011

    This summer’s will be Voodoo Juice, a delicious concoction we discovered in the US Virgin Islands recently: coconut, citrus, banana, pineapple, and mango Cruzan rums, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and a splash of dark Cruzan on top, garnished with pineapple wedges.

    Since that’s fairly complicated, my simple summer drink will be my all time fave: ice, coconut rum (Cruzan or Malibu), freshly squeezed lime juice to taste, and a lime wheel to garnish.

  4. Posted by todd - 05/26/2011

    When I couldn’t find blood oranges to make a blood orange caipirinha I wanted to try, I came up with this. Muddle 1/2 a lime (I like to quarter one and take 2 pieces) with 1 T sugar. Add a shot of rum, about a quarter shot of triple sec, a handful of ice and shake. Pour into glass and top off with a bit of club soda. It’s very refreshing!

  5. Posted by Nessie - 05/27/2011

    My signature drink, summer or not, is a Mojito. I tried make friends with a Razz Mojito as a summer signature drink, but it just didn’t work out between the two of us.

    The easiest drink for a party at our home would be either Aperol Spritz, or Malibu Pineapple, which is exactly what we’ll be serving as the beer alternative.

  6. Posted by Lisa - 05/27/2011

    I am currently on a Pomegranate martini kick – we have a local maker of fresh Pomegranate juice (not from concentrate – which is less tart). I make it a little weak to allow for more – varying the amount of juice to make it stronger or weaker for the person.

    4 oz Pomegranate juice
    1 oz Citron Vodka
    1/2 oz Orange Liquor (Triple Sec or Cointreau)

    Best with a sugared rim – esp if using juice from concentrate. Also good with a squeeze of lime if you have it.

  7. Posted by Pam - 05/27/2011

    And a French Martini with Hangar 1 Raspberry vodka is simply out of this world.

  8. Posted by Erin Doland - 05/27/2011

    If I ever had any doubts about starting SimpliFried, those doubts would have been completely alleviated by all of your awesome summer drink recipes. Yum, yum, yum! Amazing.

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