Will Lowe has a present for you: how to make the perfect Christmas Martini.
Treat yourself on Christmas Day with a super special recipe.
On a day when the rest of the world reaches for the champagne, I reach for the chemistry kit, and set about creating a cocktail fit for a king. Or all three kings, for that matter.
The goal is a fresh, fruity martini, with authentic, natural, and subtle flavouring. To this end, I employ a technique borrowed from the molecular gastronomy cook book: “sous vide” cooking. Essentially, this refers to cooking at low temperatures, in a vacuum. For our purposes, this enables infusion of flavours which would normally take weeks (if not months) to be achieved in minutes.
To begin, finely chop one gala apple and place it into a sealable sandwich bag. Then pour in 250ml of Beefeater 24, and work the bubbles out of the bag before sealing. Place into a second bag to prevent any leakage (in either direction), immerse in a pan of water heated to 60 degrees Celsius, and maintain at that temperature for 20 minutes. The result: a naturally apple flavoured gin, which completely avoids any synthetic flavouring, and takes a fraction of the time you would expect for an effective maceration.
Next, I make an elderflower caviar using calcium lactate, sodium alginate, and a natural elderflower liqueur (from the Chase Distillery). This is done using the typical spherification method, which, you can learn about here.
With both of these steps complete, the preparation is finished.
To make the martini, start by chilling the glass with ice and soda water (which is standard practice for this type of drink). As I want very subtle flavour, I opt to shake the apple infused gin over ice, rather than simply stirring. This increases the dilution of the gin, taking the edge off the abv (a good idea, since I have removed vermouth from this recipe). With the gin well chilled, double strain the liquid into the martini glass using a hawthorn and julep strainer, to remove any shards of ice from the cocktail.
The final step is simply to add the elderflower caviar into the glass using a barspoon, and serve.
Serve with pan fried scallops, in my case lovingly prepared by Mrs Lowe. You might also want to try infusing an entire bottle of Beefeater 24, and simply re-bottle any left over for future use.
I particularly enjoy cocktails where a little preparation ahead of time dramatically cuts the time required to make the drink, and so noticeably improves the final product, and this Christmas Martini is a particularly good example of this. I’ve found it to be a real hit.