Beverages, Recipes

Best French Martini (Classic Cocktail)

The French martini is a timeless classic that never goes out of style.

This chic and sophisticated drink is not just a cocktail, it’s an experience. With its velvety blend of vodka, Chambord, and a splash of pineapple juice, this martini is a perfect fusion of sweet and tart.

Glass of French Martini Cocktail Garnished With Berries on Stick

This iconic concoction is sure to add a touch of elegance to your evening.

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I guarantee just one sip of a French martini will leave you wanting more. 

French Martini

The French martini first appeared on the NYC scene in the late 1980s. Restaurant and bar owner Keith McNally first served it in one of his establishments. 

As mentioned, it’s a simple mix of vodka, pineapple juice, Chambord liqueur, and ice. The result is a sweet, fruity, boozy drink. 

Like most cocktails, it comes together in minutes without much trouble. And like most fruity cocktails, it’s a real hit with anyone who tries it. 

Don’t let the fruit factor fool you, though. There’s nothing weak about this drink. In fact, with 2 ounces of vodka in every glass, it’s pretty strong.

Why Is It Called a French Martini? 

You might find it odd that a cocktail made in the U.S. is called a ‘French’ martini. However, the name has nothing to do with where the drink was created. 

Instead, the ‘French’ refers to the Chambord liqueur in the ingredient list. A real French martini must include Chambord liqueur, otherwise, it isn’t a French martini. 

Use Ciroc if you want French vodka, as well. 

French Martina Poured in a Cocktail Glass

Ingredients 

A classic French martini only requires four ingredients. Here’s what you need: 

  • Vodka – Use 2 parts vodka to 1 part juice. Pick up a high-quality brand whose flavor you enjoy. I’m partial to Ciroc and Absolut. 
  • Pineapple juice – The pineapple juice tastes best fresh from a real pineapple. However, you can substitute a high-quality, 100% fruit juice brand. Don’t purchase one of the artificially sweetened varieties. 
  • Chambord raspberry liqueur – Chambord is a type of French liqueur. It combines raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, black currant, and more. It’s fruity and rich but not overly sweet.
  • Ice – Add enough ice to the shaker to infuse your drink with coldness. 

How to Make French Martini 

As long as you have the right tools for the job, messing up a French martini is impossible. Simply follow these steps: 

1. Mix. Combine all of the ingredients inside a cocktail shaker. 

2. Shake. Shake as vigorously as you can for 5 to 8 seconds. 

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3. Strain. Strain the drink so the ice doesn’t enter the glass. 

4. Serve. Pour the strained drink into a cocktail glass and enjoy! 

Foamy French Martini Cocktail on a Glass

Shaken or Stirred? 

We all know James Bond’s answer to this question, but what’s the correct way to make a French martini? As it turns out, James Bond is right. 

French martinis taste best when shaken, not stirred.

Vigorously shake the martini in a shaker for 5 to 8 seconds. Doing so incorporates air bubbles into the mixture, adding a nice foam layer. 

Shaking the drink also allows the ice to impart more coolness.

Finally, shaking the drink means it won’t have such a strong vodka taste.

Tips and Tricks 

Keep these tips and tricks in mind when playing mixologist: 

  • Add salt. Add a pinch of salt to the drink itself. It will elevate your cocktail to a new level. Do you know how salt acts as a flavor enhancer in recipes? The same is true in mixed drinks. The salt will dissolve while you shake the shaker, but it’ll enhance all the drink’s other flavors. 
  • Don’t be shy about shaking. When shaking the Martini, give it all you’ve got. Vigorously shaking the drink gives it that marvelous foamy top. Be sure to strain it slowly, as well. That’ll ensure the foam comes out just as it should and gathers on top. 
  • Chill your tools. Let the cocktail glass and shaker chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes before making the drink. It’ll stay much colder for longer. 
  • Use ice cubes. Avoid using crushed ice, as it will melt and dilute the drink during shaking. Stick to full-size cubes instead. 
  • Let it rest. Let the cocktail rest for about 30 seconds before sipping. That’ll give the foam time to settle in place. 
  • Use flavored vodka. Doing so will give your drink even more flavor. Just be sure it’s a flavor that pairs well with pineapple juice and berries. 
  • Make it sparkle. Follow the ingredients in the recipe card below. Then, at the end, pour 2 ounces of sparkling wine or Champagne on top of the drink. That’ll give it a sparkly, fizzy appearance.
  • Make it dry. Swap out the vodka for gin for a drier version.
Homemade French Martini with Raspberries in a Wine Glass

How to Decorate a French Martini 

Decorating or garnishing your French martini is entirely up to you. You can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. 

Unlike many drinks, the French martini doesn’t have a “traditional” garnish. Fortunately, that means you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. 

Try one of these garnishes, or come up with your own: 

  • A simple lemon or lime wedge on the rim
  • A spiraled lemon or lime peel inside the glass
  • A thinly sliced orange slice on the rim or floating inside the glass
  • A triangle of pineapple on the rim
  • Skewered pineapples and maraschino cherries on a cocktail pick
  • Fresh berries (raspberries, perhaps) and a lemon twist on a cocktail pick
  • Candied or caramelized pineapple on the rim
  • A “sugared” rim with flaked coconut instead of sugar