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5 Tips for Making a Good Lychee Martini

Use a good source of lychee flavor:

One of the most important characteristics of a lychee martini is the wonderful sweet fragrance and flavor of the fresh lychee fruit. A good lychee martini should smell and taste like lychee. As the martini is slowly sipped it should conjure up images of exotic and far away tropical places. The more authentic is the lychee flavoring the better the drinking experience.

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Bottle of WaterThe best choice for flavoring is lychee syrup. Although some people like to use lychee liqueur the flavoring of different brands can vary and they have, in our opinion, an underlying processed taste. Many people resort to using the syrup from canned lychees. This is an absolute last resort and we do not recommend it because it's cloudy, the lychees used in canning are the lychees that were not high enough in quality to be sold fresh and canned lychee syrup is tainted by the metal from the can as is the case with most tinned fruit.

If you have neither the liqueur or the syrup you can use lychee juice. Ceres of South Africa makes an excellent all natural lychee juice that is diluted with pear juice.


In the same way that a fine martini is garnished with an olive or an onion, a first class lychee martini should be garnished with 1 or 2 peeled and seeded lychees on a skewer. Since lychees have a relatively short season in the Northern hemisphere (approximately 7 weeks) it is not always possible to get a fresh lychee for your drink.

Frozen lychees retain most all of the flavor and fragrance of the fresh fruit and should be used whenever the fresh fruit are not available. Frozen lychees are often available in Oriental or Pan Asian food markets and they also can be obtained from online outside of the regular season (May 15th - July 7th).

If you cannot obtain either fresh or frozen lychees and your special event absolutely needs that look and feel of a genuine lychee in your martini you can resort to using canned lychees with the following caveats. Use a high quality syrup for the flavoring and drain and rinse the canned lychees in fresh filtered water prior to using them as a garnish.

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The leaves of lychee trees are dark green and shiny so the addition of a mint leaf, besides adding freshness, helps to create a leafy ambience. Dressing the rim of the martini glass with crystallized ginger gives the drink a distinctly oriental flavor. Slowly sipping a martini with this unusual mix of garnishes, conjures up images of mist enshrouded mountain rain forests of Southern China, the ancestral home of the lychee.

Use the highest quality vodka:

Vodka comes in many different qualities and flavors. Generally speaking, the more times a vodka has been distilled and filtered the smoother and better tasting it is. You will pay considerably more for a high quality vodka, but the extra expense is worth it if you are constructing your lychee martini from other high quality components such as lychee liqueur, syrup and fresh lychees as garnish.

If you are not sure about the quality of your vodka you can refer to the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago's 1998 blind taste test of 40 vodkas. This test rated Grey Goose, Canadian Iceberg and Stolichnaya Gold Vodka at the top and Smirnoff, Belvedere Schenley and Mr. Boston's at the bottom of the list.

If you don't like vodka or are uncomfortable with a high alcoholic content drink you can use champagne, sake or soju, a unique Asian alcohol made from rice, barley and other ingredients that is often substituted for vodka.

Color and Presentation:

Adding some coloration can make the martini more visually appealing. Try mixing in a drop of Grenadine (artificial pomegranate juice) or cranberry to give the drink the red color of actual ripe lychees. Our syrup is naturally yellow. This imparts a pleasant yellow tint to the martini whereas canned syrup is cloudy and not especially attractive. A mint leaf adds a touch of green color which is reminiscent of lychee trees. You can also add Midori for an additional green tint.

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Experiment with other ingredients:

Aside from adding different strengths of lychee liqueur, lychee syrup, lychee juice and garnishing of varying freshness there are many other potential variations upon which you can build your lychee martini. Vermouth has been a classic additive to martinis. Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Triple Sec and Midori are alternative liqueurs that can be successfully blended into a lychee martini with varying affects. Various fruit juices blended with lychee, grenadine and lychee syrup can add flavor and color to your drink and should be experimented with.  Products and Services

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