English Breakfast Martini

By Richard Godwin From the book The Spirits
English Breakfast Martini from Richard Godwin's The Spirit's.

I like this cocktail as it’s the perfect example of how a spirit may be combined with workaday kitchen ingredients to create something unexpected. Its invention is often credited to the celebrated bartender Salvatore Calabrese. His version from the 1980s is essentially a White Lady (gin/Cointreau/lemon) with a bit of marmalade in it. However, perhaps he failed to consult the Savoy Cocktail Book, otherwise he would have found the strikingly similar Marmalade Cocktail (gin/marmalade/lemon)?

A little experimentation tells me that marmalade is amply sweet and orangey in itself and, provided you are comfortable with its bitter notes, this renders the orange liqueur redundant. Who pours himself a Cointreau for breakfast anyway? Gin yes, but Cointreau? What are you, French?

No, simplicity is all. If you can reduce the number of expensive ingredients, why wouldn’t you? While on the breakfast theme, however, you can make two small cocktail ‘hacks’. The first is to introduce some egg white, which is appropriate only at breakfast time. The second is to infuse your gin with tea. Simply leave a teabag or even better, real tea leaves – Earl Grey works well – to steep in gin for around three minutes, prodding it now and then. In not much longer than it takes to make a decent cup of tea, you will have a richer, darker base spirit to play with. I would recommend 100ml of gin per teabag, enough for two cocktails, so hopefully you are having breakfast with a special friend.

Ingredients

  • 50ml (tea-infused) gin
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml marmalade (approx 1 heaped dessertspoon or a generous 5ml)
  • 15ml egg white (optional)

Instructions

If you are using egg white, shake all the ingredients hard without ice and then again with the ice before double-straining into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a copy of The Times.

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