If you ask me, and you did by inference when you clicked on the link, the vodka martini is the most versatile ingredient in a cocktail and is the basis for all of the best alcoholic beverages. There are so many variations on the vodka martini, but most of them involve sugar or fucking simple syrup and some damn fruit and are just too sweet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I loves me a good Appletini, Peartini, Cosmo, Lemon Drop, etc., And I loves me some good fruit infused vodkas like my fave Grey Goose Melon, but sometimes you just want a sour or tart taste to cut the sweetness. The answer is cranberries! Once again, there are so many variations on what people call the “Martini Sour”, but I can tell by the recipes that most of them are essentially sweet with a sour finish. No fucking good. So I put my drinking and thinking cap on and decided to create a REAL martini sour. Fortunately I had an extra bag of fresh cranberries from after Thanksgiving and plenty of pre-Xmas vodka on hand, so I came up with a few variations. The key to this one seems to be the way you muddle the cranberries and lemon. Start with 10 fresh cranberries in your shaker (I use a 16 oz. canning jar) and squeeze some lemon juice in there and mash the hell out them with a brutal style muddler with some teeth – something that can really grind them up. Then cut the rest of your lemon half into quarters and muddle them with the cranberries to get some of the oils from the lemon skin. Of course you remembered to carve out your spiral garnish first, right? A great cocktail is all about the muddling and the garnish. Then add some ice and shake like hell for a good 30 seconds. Seriously, count to 30.
Your liqueur choice will add a nice delicate sweet touch, but regardless of which combination you prefer I guarantee that your lips will pucker and you’ll be gleeking like an adolescent prankster after the first sip. But remember, as with all good martinis, you need to start with good vodka. I made my first one with Belvedere Wild Berry, but I also tried one with Effen Black Cherry for that hint of vanilla that cuts the sour a teensy bit. I would also suggest trying any berry/cherry infused vodka such as Grey Goose Cherry Noir, or better yet make your own infusion!
UPDATE: The Grey Goose Cherry Noir worked out well, and while not exactly sweet it’s not as sour as the other variations. The Crème de Violette or Crème Yvette choice is up to you – I find that the original Crème de Violette is more fragrant and floral but you might also like Chambord, which has a chocolaty finish and pairs so nicely with the Effen Black Cherry’s hint of vanilla. Don’t worry, it’s still plenty sour, and I can’t wait to prove that to my friend K who gifted the bottle of Effen to me because she said it was “too sweet”. 😉
2 oz. Belvedere Wild Berry vodka or other berry/cherry infused vodka
½ Crème Yvette or Crème de Violette OR Chambord
13 fresh cranberries (10 for muddling, 3 for garnish)
½ lemon with spiral twist cut out.
Cut spiral twist from lemon, squeeze juice into shaker, add 10 cranberries and vigorously muddle until cranberries are thoroughly popped and mashed, add lemon rind sliced into quarters, continue muddling to release oils from skin. Add Vodka and liqueur, shake with ice for 30 seconds, strain and pour into cordial or martini glass and skewer lemon twist in between remaining 3 cranberries with a toothpick.