Who wants a pretty cocktail?
Me! I do! I hope your hand is raised, too, because not only is today’s cocktail PRETTY and DELICIOUS, but it helped me through some nerve-wracking television as well. I’ll explain that in a bit.
Are you a lemon fan? I know I’ve said this a bunch of times already, but I SO AM. I love lemons. If it weren’t for my husband’s aversion, I’d have something lemon-flavored for every meal. Sweet, savory, and everything in between. If it has lemon in it, it’s usually good in my book. I can’t even tell you how many arguments over lemon we’ve had in my house. They usually go something like this: “Ew, there’s lemon in this.” “Yeah, duh, because it’s the best flavor in the universe.” “No, no, it isn’t.” “You’re dumb.” The end.
That being said, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m sharing a lemon-infused cocktail today. Lychee martinis are one of my most fav treats to get out while enjoying sushi. They were super trendy a few years ago, but because I am now considered ancient in the world of “trendy,” I have no idea if they are really a thing anymore. Are they? Someone younger and cooler than me will probably know.
Lychees are these awesome and adorable little Asian fruits that kind of taste like a pear. They’re softer in texture than a pear, but that’s what the flavor reminds me of. You can find them peeled, seeded, and canned in syrup at Asian specialty markets. They are light and slightly sweet…and perfect for mixing with lemon. And vodka. The resulting cocktail is girly in all the best ways possible. It’s ethereal in color and lovely to look at, and it tastes like a sweet treat. It’s a dreamy drink.
Now for the part that doesn’t really make sense. I’m weirdly associating this gorgeous girly drink with the HBO show True Detective. If you’ve seen the show, you know how absurd this is. When we watched the first season finale two weeks ago (yes, we’re very behind. Told you I don’t know what’s trendy anymore), I was enjoying one of these martinis. So now, whenever I think of the show in all its wonderful and creepy glory (seriously still having trouble walking into a dark room by myself), I think of these pretty little cocktails. Weird, right?
While the show was addicting and awesome, it freaked me the heck out. I don’t like gritty/dark/scary movies or shows, and True Detective is about as much of that as I can take. I think I’m even worse since becoming a mom. Oy.
The second season starts in a couple weeks, and as I prepare myself for a love-hate relationship with it, I’ll be clutching a pillow and downing one of these martinis to ease my nerves. I’m hoping Vince Vaughn will add some levity to things. Eeek.
If not, I’ll just make another batch of these so I can sleep at night.
1 (15-oz) can whole lychees in syrup
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
½ cup vodka
¼ cup Soho lychee liqueur (see Note)
2 tablespoons Cointreau or triple sec
Remove 4 lychees from the can and skewer on decorative toothpicks/cocktail skewers, 2 per skewer. Place on a small baking sheet or plate and place in the freezer until frozen firm. Reserve for garnish.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for a minute or so or until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the syrup into a blender along with the remaining lychees and the lychee syrup. Zest and juice the lemons into the mixture and then puree until completely smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Refrigerate the lemon lychee syrup until cold.
When ready to serve, combine the vodka, lychee liqueur, Cointreau, and ¼ cup of the lemon lychee syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled and then pour into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with the skewered lychees and lemon twists and serve.
If you can’t find this liqueur, you can skip it and increase the lychee lemon syrup by another ¼ cup.