Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sparkling Garnet Martini

Recently at one of my favorite restaurants, Sapor Cafe in Minneapolis, I had ordered a drink that the server described as an "adult" Shirly Temple called the "Lovely Lady".  I am sure most of you know what a shirly temple is, but in case you don't it is a drink children often order with sprite and grenadine with a marschino cherry.  I often ordered them as a kid, and find them way too sweet as an adult, but I was intrigued by the idea of an upscale adult version.  Theirs had Gin with a house made hibiscus grenadine, citrus and Griottine cherry.  It was a beautiful pink color, and it was way better than a Shirly temple, balanced and not too sweet. 

It made me want to create my own!  I didn't have the recipe of course, but I did manage to create my own delicious variation of it.  First off, I made a hibiscus agave syrup, using dried hibiscus flowers that I happened to have on hand.  I prefer agave to a sugar syrup any day, as I try to stay away from lots of refined white sugars.  It was the most beautiful intense pink color once the flowers had infused. 

I combined the syrup with gin, some fresh lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the drink, and lastly, once the martini had been mixed I topped it off with a sparkling cherry juice (all fruit sweetened).  It needed the cherry to garnish as well, and I did not have Griottine cherries.  But I did have dried cherries, so I soaked a few ahead of time in some of the same gin I would be using in the drink. Theirs was served in a tall glass, but since I feel like a martini glass makes a drink sexy, like a drink in stilettos... I served mine in my prettiest martini glass. 

The drink was so beautiful, the most radiant intense red color like that of a garnet.  Appropriate also because it was created in January and the January birthstone is a garnet.  But just as important as beauty is how it tasted.  It was delicious!  Slightly sweet cherry with a hint of the herbal gin, a brightness of citrus and a foral note from the hibiscus syrup.  It was not the same as the drink at Sapor, but it was amazing!  I love it when I can get a $12 martini for free with ingredients I have on hand at home!  Here is the recipe if you would like one for yourself... no need to share!

"Sparkling Garnet"
(Cherry Hibiscus Gin Martini with Citrus)
Makes 1
6 large ice cubes
4 oz gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz hibiscus syrup*
sparkling cherry juice
gin soaked cherries*
To make drink, in a martini shaker add the ice, gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, and place top on shaker. Shake until well blended. Pour the drink through a strainer into a the prepared martini glass, top it off with the sparking cherry juice garnish with gin soaked cherries and serve!
*Hibiscus syrup
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
Combine all ingredients in a jar, put the lid on and shake to dissolve agave nectar.  Let sit at least a day to infuse, then strain to remove flowers.  Store in the fridge for up to a month. 
*Gin soaked cherries
Place 1 cup dried organic cherries in a clean jar, and cover with just enough gin to submerge.  Let sit a few days before using.  (the leftover cherry infused gin is delicious in drinks!)


  1. Wow! What a beautiful drink! Love the flavors of the hibiscus flowers and agave nectar, wonderful use of natural ingredients. Thanks so much for sharing, I hope to try this recipe out sometime. I bookmarked it and am now following your blog. Gorgeous photos by the way. thrilled to be your newest fan =]

  2. Hibiscus sounds lovely, but you haven't created a drink yet I haven't wanted to try! You really have a hand for creating elegant indulgence! :)

  3. That is one gorgeous drink or drinks because I will be having two glasses or more. :)

  4. This is an awesome blend of flavor and I love the vibrant color! The two qualities together make for one magical drink. I am ready for happy hour and it is not even 6 am yet! Have a great day!

  5. This would have been the perfect birthday drink. Maybe I'll keep the celebration going and make one anyway. It's very pretty and ladylike!

  6. I love this..YUMMY RECIPE..


  7. This is a heartfelt beautiful drink - almost made for love. Now to find the hibiscus "juice."

  8. You obviously got the mixologist gene (I definitely didn't), which makes your creation all the more impressive. I love the color on this!

  9. I use sugar syrups all the time and I never once thought to swap it out for agave, even though I always have it in the fridge! Brilliant way to cut back on the sugar!

  10. I'm back to say I have a food blog award waiting for you on my site! =] http://www.freespiriteater.com/2012/01/paula-deen-rant-food-blog-award.html

  11. such a beautiful drink!! I used to love shirley temples!

  12. Love the picture with the candle and effect it has on the drink. totally setting up a mood. :)