Tim Philips Blog – The Lychee Martini

I know what you’re thinking.

Spotted Dick-Tini, anyone?

“YES TIM; YOU DON’T LIKE THE LYCHEE MARTINI. SHUT UP, I HATE YOU,YOU’RE GOING BALD, Have you been working out!?” Well, maybe not the last thing, but probably the first. Well you’re wrong. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve reconsidered my stance on the canned-fruit revolution and come to the following conclusions.

Australian women, or at the very least, SYDNEY women, like Lychees. They don’t care that they are only seasonal between the months of Jan to March (coinciding with Chinese New Year). They don’t care that even though living in a country with an abundance of fresh produce on their door step, they will continue to be content with tinned fruit, even though any fruit that is canned, is deemed un-usable as fresh. They don’t even care that the Lychee Martini is not even a real drink.

They like Lychees. Full stop.

If I may, I will back-track a month to an Evolution of the Martini event held by Jason Williams for World Cocktail Week. I was there to speak about the Martini’s timeline alongside Ben Davidson, Simon McGoram, and Phil Gandevia. My input was the Martini’s evolution from 1980-onwards. Otherwise known as the shit bit.

I was to speak of the fruit-martini craze of the eighties and the move towards adding juices, coffee, and fruit into drinks with the suffix, “Tini” attached to the stem of a word. I was also to demonstrate the famed, acclaimed, but usually lame, Lychee Martini.

If you allow me to back-track further I will draw your attention to an article written by Tim “G-D” Wastell, years back in Australian Bartender Magazine. He spoke of his frustration with the way Australia’s favourite mixed-drink, the Vodka, Lime & Soda was being made. Essentially he was pissed off. Angry that professional bartenders still put lime cordial, a mostly synthetic product, in a drink which could easily use fresh produce. I agreed with him, and with this inspiration, went out to re-brand the Lychee-Martini as a drink that stayed true to a style of Martini (Spirit, Vermouth and Bitters).

My interpretation of the Lychee Martini at the Evolution of the Martini event went down a treat, I think. I think, and not know not because of the feedback, but because of how decidedly intoxicated  I was after listening, tasting, listening, and tasting my way through seven (that’s right, SEVEN) Martini’s previous to mine.

After the event with my fellow speakers I’m proud to say my Lychee Martini recipe has been adopted by Sydney’s favourite cocktail haunt, Eau De Vie. I’m even more proud to say my interpretation of the Lychee Martini still holds true to the fundamentals of the drinks original name-sake. Something in-which i’m sure myself, and other fellow bartenders are doing their darndest to hold onto.

Here it is, drinktheshitoutofit…

  • (Take 1 can of Lychees and Mix it in a jar with equivalent volume of Martini Bianco Vermouth)
  • 45ml Plymouth (or Vodka *Ciroc Pref* if you must)
  • 45ml Lychee/Vermouth Mix
  • 5ml Campari

STIR down lovingly until suitably chilled and diluted, serve in chilled cocktail glass….or empty Lychee can…whatever. The customer ain’t gunna care. It’s a Lychee Martini. x