Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini

In my new series (turned in the first manuscript about two weeks ago!), my character, Grace Wheaton, says that there’s no better drink to celebrate with than a Raspberry Lemon Drop martini. And she’s right.

My eldest daughter graduated college from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida in 2008. (Check out some of her artwork here: http://robynhyzy.com/ ) While we were all down there for graduation my brother’s partner, Mitch, invited us out for drinks at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. The waitress there suggested the Raspberry Lemon Drop and it was *fabulous.* Really, truly, the finest martini I’ve ever encountered. And so pretty!

Back home I was unsuccessful trying to find another restaurant to serve anything even close. Some of them were downright terrible. So, I blogged about it. To my great surprise, Valerie from the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota saw my lament and sent me the recipe! Wow. Talk about incredible customer service! She shared it in my blog comments here: http://juliehyzy.blogspot.com/2008/09/raspberry-lemon-drop.html but I’ve since tweaked it ever so slightly so that it makes two servings at once—because I don’t ever enjoy these by myself. They’re too much fun to share.

The *most* important ingredients here are the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the homemade simple syrup. And trust me, it’s very simple. I’ve tried making these with store-bought sour mix and the results are not nearly as good. The difference between homemade mix and the kind that comes from a bottle are worth the small effort it takes to make your own.

Next time you’re ready to celebrate or just relax, here’s the beverage to do it with:

Raspberry Lemon Drop

I use the cap of my martini shaker as a measurement. So, rather than ounces, I use “parts.”

3 parts Raspberry Vodka (I like Stoli Razz. Not terribly expensive compared to others.)
2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 parts simple syrup (recipe below)
Chambord raspberry liqueur
Fresh raspberries
Sugar to rim the glass (you can use sugar on a plate. I actually splurge and buy lemon sugar)

Mix the first three ingredients *not the Chambord* in a martini shaker, with lots of ice.
Rub the rims of two martini glasses with lemon peel (from squeezed lemons) and then turn glasses upside down in the sugar one at a time. Wiggle until rims are coated. Bring glasses upright.

Pour one serving of martini into each, careful not to mess the sugar. Leave a little room.

Pour a quick drip of Chambord into the center of each glass, allowing it to settle in the bottom.
Garnish with fresh raspberries.

If you’re only serving a few people and you have room, you may want to freeze your martini glasses ahead of time. They look so fresh coming out frosty.

Not exactly low calorie, I know. But worth an occasional indulgence.

Simple Syrup

You’re not going to believe how easy this is.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Boil until clear, stirring occasionally to get the sugar to dissolve. Let cool

That’s it! I usually make 2 – 4 cups of syrup at once. Depends on how many people I’m serving, and how long I expect them to stay. Always easier to pull more syrup out of the fridge than have to zip up another batch with folks right there. I also always squeeze the lemons ahead of time and keep the juice in the fridge. For parties, I’ve sometimes pre-combined the lemon and syrup in a 1:2 ratio just to have it handy and not have to mess around too much when time is at a premium.

With friends over for Labor Day to chitchat and play Rook (that's me and my good friend, Rene, sipping), and with a whole bunch of landscaping work done this weekend, I think there was cause to celebrate. If you enjoy the occasional indulgence, I hope you try this recipe. It's perfect for parties.


The White House Chef Mystery series features State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

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  1. Have never had a martini. This one sounds delicious. We were in a casino in CT that had a martini bar. Couldn't talk my husband into going in. They were known for their chocolate martinis. This one sounds much better. If I can round up the ingredients, I'll give it a try. Or next time we are in Florida, I'll have my DH head for Sarasota and the Ritz-Carlton.
    Your daughter's art is lovely.

  2. Pretty drink! And I love the idea of the raspberry in the martini.

    Your daughter's paintings are beautiful!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Hi Librarypat - I hadn't ever tried a martini until about a year and a half ago. I usually ordered water or a glass of wine when we were out (and often, I still do) because I didn't know what I liked. I had an epiphany during a trip to NY with Robyn, my artist daughter. She introduced me to martinis and now I actually feel as though I know what I'm doing when I go to a restaurant and want to order a fancy drink ;-)

    Thanks for the kind words on her paintings :-)

    Elizabeth - thanks to you, too! And you're right, the raspberries add such a bit of fun to these.

  4. Wow, Julie, is your daughter talented! And we have a beautiful martini to celebrate her and your successes! Wow! Thanks.

  5. My long-time friend will be visiting next month. Sounds like the perfect drink to celebrate. Plus, if you don't use all of the simple syrup on these drinks its great to use in iced coffee!

  6. Thanks, Avery. She's making Mom proud... as are they all.

    Janel - my friend Rene - in the photo - suggested I freeze the leftover lemon juice and simple syrup in ice cube trays. That will make it easy to create one of these on the fly if I ever need to (maybe a plot isn't working? LOL!) I plan to try it this time since I do have quite a bit left over. Great idea for the iced coffee!

  7. Ohhhhh this looks goood!!! (And you're right about the simple syrup - really easy to make and nothing beats homemade.) My sister will go nuts over this one especially. She's a Green Apple Martini girl but this may just convert her!

    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    "Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

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  8. I'm partial to a dirty martini (I love olives),
    but I'm betting I could love this one, too! It is lovely!

  9. I need a cause to celebrate? Are you sure? Um, it's Tuesday! And it's be kind to editors and writers month. That's good enough for me! I'm sooo looking forward to this drink!


  10. Cleo, I like these so much better than green apple... but your sister's mileage may vary ;-)

    Jenn - I haven't ever had a dirty martini. I'll have to try one.

    Krista - Be kind to editors and writers month? I like that a lot!! Definitely reason to celebrate!

  11. What a neat idea...and lots of good info too. Enjoyed!