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?