The Gypsy Martini

This is a sweeter version of a classic martini, with a luscious garnish and playful flavours. While most martinis are considered best suited as an aperitif or pre-dinner drink, the Gypsy Martini with its sweetness makes a good digestif or dessert drink as well.

However, before I proceed, I need to highlight what to many will be obvious: the term ‘gypsy’ to some is an offensive term.

With that in mind, I am open to renaming this drink if requested, perhaps simply to a Maraschino Martini. Otherwise, however, I am documenting the information here with its original, if potentially problematic name, not through any disregard for the Romani people, but for the purpose of documenting the known history of the drink.

A Gypsy Martini with the faint outline of the Shard in the background

In order to make one, follow the same instructions as a Classic Martini, but with the following adaptations:

  • Consider using a sweet vermouth.
  • Garnish with a single maraschino cherry and a cocktail stick rather than lemon or olive.
  • Consider adding a teaspoon or two of the maraschino liqueur from the cherry jar just after you’ve poured the vermouth
  • This tends to work better with vodka as the bitter notes of the gin can clash with the sweetness of the maraschino.
A Gypsy Martini

Maraschino cherries were historically seen as a royal luxury in parts of Europe. A product of Croatia, they have been picked, salted, pickled and sweetened in alcohol for centuries and make a luxurious addition to the classic martini. Indeed we have much to thank Croatia for, given that they are one of the biggest producers of juniper berries in the world. Hvala!

Thank you also to Cat Loud for kindly providing these images from one of our “Big Nights In” somewhere in south London.

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