There are a handful of martini drinks born out of the 90s that still work with the more nuanced palates of today’s cocktail drinkers. An espresso martini? Yes please! A Cosmo? It never goes out of fashion.
But have you ever heard of the French martini? Put your vermouth down, this isn’t a dry, stiff-collar cocktail. Instead, the French martini is a sweet-tart concoction made from vodka, black raspberry liqueur Chambord, and pineapple. Although an eyebrow-raising list of ingredients at first, the resulting drink is actually very tasty, and it’s worth mixing up as your pre-dinner cocktail tonight.
Adding a Splash of Pineapple Juice into Your French Martini
The French Martini is made up of only 3 ingredients: vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice. Yes! Pineapple juice! And not a tropical mug for miles. The pineapple here provides a sweet, tangy stand-in for the usual lemon or lime juice. In this version of the recipe, I pull back on the Chambord and up the amount of vodka to balance the sweetness.
If you want to keep this “French,” use a French vodka. My go-to is Grey Goose. However, that bottle of Tito’s will also work in this as well.
What is Chambord?
Chambord is a low-alcohol black raspberry liqueur made with all-natural flavorings and ingredients that arrived stateside in 1981. However, the recipe Chambord is based upon is thought to date back to the 17th century in France.
Its sweet flavor profile is what many consumers were looking for in the 1980s and 90s, making it a prime contender for the “-tini” craze. This imported French liqueur, and the oversized martini “V” shaped glass it was served in, are where the “French martini” moniker came from.
History of the French Martini
The history of the French martini can be traced back to restaurateur Keith McNally’s bars in the latter half of the 1980s. By the mid-90s it started appearing on the menu at Balthazar’s in Soho, and an ad in the bartending and trade magazine CLASS helped push it into more bars around the country after that.
Shaken Vs. Stirred Martinis
Now, when you go to put this together, listen to the voice of James Bond in your head as he tells you to shake the martini and not stir it. While a classic gin martini is stirred, a shake here will ensure that the pineapple juice and Chambord are well incorporated into the drink, and that the ice is properly diluted to balance the booze, so we’ll make a deal with Mr. Bond and give our French martini a good shake.
But no need to go wild, any shaking after 20 seconds isn’t doing much for you beyond giving your arms a workout.
French Martini Glassware
Don’t have those oversized “V” glasses? No worries, this drink wouldn’t reach anywhere near the top of one of those. Instead find yourself a coupe or a modestly sized 6-ounce cocktail glass.
Top off your drink with a few raspberries if they’re in season, or nothing at all if desired.
- You can swap the vodka for cognac, giving the drink a richer flavor of vanilla and caramel in the background. This is also what is referred to as a “Very French martini”.
- Top the drink off with sparkling wine for a more effervescent take on the drink.
- The flavor of the raspberry liqueur and pineapple accommodates many swaps for the vodka, so try your favorite gin or whiskey too!
Making More Martinis?
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce Chambord
1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
3 raspberry raspberries
Combine the cocktail ingredients and shake:
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in the vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice. Shake about 20 seconds until cold.
Strain cocktail into a glass and serve:
Strain into a cocktail glass (coupe or V style) and garnish with 3 raspberries speared on a cocktail pick.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 13g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 11g|
|Vitamin C 16mg||79%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|