Whether you’re a lychee lover or just curious about this spiky little fruit that seems to be taking over the internet, we’ve got the scoop — and a simple recipe.
This tropical fruit has an ever-growing fanbase, particularly in the mixology crowd. The lychee martini is gaining quite the cult following — including Saltsy’s own founder, Kim, who counts this concoction as one of her #SaltsyHour favorites. It’s easy to see why… the syrup’s dainty floral flavor combined with punchy booze and the chewy decadence of a lychee berry is refreshing in the best way possible.
And since it’s a fruit, dare we say you could add this martini to your stack of healthy recipes? We’re kidding. But in all seriousness, when you try a lychee you may find more uses for this tasty treat outside of happy hour.
The Flavor of Lychee
Although it’s native to China, the lychee fruit is also grown in tropical regions in the United States like Florida and Hawaii. It’s quite easy to peel, and beneath the red rough skin you’ll discover a white, glossy berry that has a texture similar to a peeled grape. The lychee also has a smooth seed nestled within the berry, and you’ll want to discard this and the exterior husk when you’re making your lychee libations and snacks.
If you haven’t tried lychee, the flavor is somewhere in the realm of a pear, a ripe citrus fruit, and rose water. It’s fantastic on its own or in combination with other tropical flavors. (Hello, tropical fruit salads!)
Scouring Local Grocery Stores and Beyond
Before you start testing recipes, you need to know where to get your hands on these beloved berries. Unfortunately, this is the tricky part.
If you live in a tropical area you may find fresh fruit at local supermarket during the lychee’s summertime harvest season. It’s also frequently found in Asian markets. With fresh fruit, you can quickly make homemade lychee liqueur, simple syrup, or lychee puree.
Outside of these times and areas, fresh lychee isn’t all that common. The good news is that canned lychee and lychee juice are becoming more readily available. For lychee syrup, you can check a well-stocked liquor store, and online sellers like Amazon often carry the canned fruit and boxed juice.
Berries are best consumed immediately; however, you can keep them for up to a week in the fridge and six months in the freezer. (Fun fact: Eat it straight from the freezer for a sorbet-like treat!) Just remember it doesn’t take long for this exotic fruit to begin to ferment and lose its unique flavor, so keep martini glasses chilled for when you do land some lychees!
Simple Lychee Martini Recipe
Ready to mix up this spectacularly tropical twist on a classic martini? Here’s our favorite Saltsy Hour recipe and how-to video for a lychee martini. (For quick reference — and a dash of cuteness — be sure to download our free PDF instructions here.)
- 3 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces lychee juice or simple syrup
- A splash of dry vermouth
- 1-2 lychee for garnish (fresh lychee fruit or canned)
- Ice cubes
- Fill cocktail shaker half-way with ice
- Add vodka, lychee juice or simple syrup, and vermouth
- Shake, shake, shake!
- Strain into chilled martini glass or coupe glass
- Garnish with lychee(s)
Lychee martinis pair nicely with best friends, your “fancy” flip flops, and fresh caught red snapper. So, grab your girlfriends and enjoy — we’re certain this will become one of your go-to classic cocktails!