Consider the Lychee Martini the cocktail that’s always there for you when you’re not in the mood for sake or Sapporo, the friendly drink that’s reliably located somewhere on the menu at any run-of-the-mill sushi spot or Asian fusion restaurant. It arrives sweet and floral and just stiff enough. And yet it also arrives with a soupçon of stigma.
As a member of the fruity ‘tini clan, the Lychee Martini (aka the Lycheetini) is often lumped in with neon-hued offenders from the ‘90s like Green Appletinis or Blue Razztinis. But the Lychee Martini is the delicious black sheep of the ‘tini family, and it deserves to be respected. Here, seven reasons why Lycheetinis are actually awesome.
They’re More Like Classic Martinis Than Other ‘tinis
While other fruity ‘tinis masquerade as close relatives of the Martini with only vodka and a glass in common, the Lychee Martini maintains the basic structure of the classic recipe (vodka and dry vermouth), only altering it with a splash of lychee syrup and a fruity garnish of a lychee nut. It’s essentially a sweet version of the Dirty Martini.
They’re Sweet Drinks on the D.L.
Unlike other members of the ‘tini family, the Lychee Martini does not look like something straight out of a Lisa Frank-fueled hallucination. It’s the color of booze and lychee syrup mixed together—no brightly hued enhancements needed. That means you can drink a Lychee Martini without alerting the whole bar to the fact that you prefer a fruitier brand of ‘tini.
They Come With a Delicious Snack
That booze-soaked lychee at the bottom of your Lychee Martini tastes like manna from the heavens. Why no one has started selling these spiked fruits by the jarful yet is a total mystery.
They Broaden People’s Fruit Knowledge
If you asked 50 people about the first time they ate a lychee, at least half of them would recount the time they tried a Lychee Martini. These tropical ‘tinis are introducing Americans to exotic fruits beyond your basic pineapple and mango. Really, Lychee Martinis are educational. They should be offered in college curriculums.
They’re Great With Food
The Lychee Martini’s mild sweetness makes it a perfect pairing for spicy foods—particularly those that lean on other Asian flavors. It complements and cools without overpowering the flavors in the food. It might not seem remarkable, but pairing cocktails with foods is not easy. Their complex ingredients and boozy heat all too often clash with the flavors in the food. The Lychee Martini, on the other hand, strikes that harmonious balance, which is why it has seen such success at Asian restaurants.
They’re Unexpectedly Boozy
Gulpable as they are, Lychee Martinis aren’t playing around. They aren’t sugar-laden juice bombs; they’re real cocktails with a real hit of alcohol. They’re like the hedgehogs of the cocktail world: demure and dainty, but secretly dangerous.
They’re Just Plain Good
Lychee Martinis are downright delicious. So why limit them to sushi joints? Craft bartenders, we challenge you: Put a Lychee Martini on your menu. You’ll certainly get our attention.