“I like to have a martini/ Two at the very most/After three I’m under the table/ After four, I’m under my host.” American poet and critic Dorothy Parker is credited with that witticism, but it’s rumored to be a misattribution. We can confirm, however, that martinis evoke a sophisticated aura, whether it’s the architectural glass with the long, slender stem and sharp, triangle-shaped bowl or the no-nonsense mixture within.
A good martini must have a top-shelf vodka or gin. There’s no hiding the quality of the main liquor. With a martini, you can’t mask cheap liquor with too much fruit juice and froth. Summer calls for a little more frivolity though. You let your hair down, and you invite more ingredients into your martini than you might normally at an indoor cocktail party.
If you’re planning on lounging beside the sparkling waters and luxuriating under the sunshine with a cocktail (or three) this summer, consider these loosely defined martini recipes. Taste luxury at its finest.
Key Lime Pie Martini
The only thing “martini” about this drink is the glass and shaker. Oh, and maybe the vanilla vodka. But who cares? You’re drinking by the pool! Key lime pie is so South Florida, where it’s almost always summer and pools are plentiful. Get the recipe.
Grapefruit Basil Martini
Ripe, juicy summer berries are so good you want to use them in everything, and drinks are no exception. But this fruity martini has a little lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper to keep it from being cloying, while still letting the fresh strawberry flavor shine through. Get the recipe.
Pineapple Vanilla Bean Martini
While we do love piña coladas, there are lots of other pineapple cocktails out there, like this martini with fragrant vanilla bean simple syrup to complement the sweet-tart flavor of the fruit. Get the recipe.
Refreshing Mango Martini
Less traditional than the gin + vermouth martini, this gin martini has one of the most tropical fruits infused in it to give it a more island feel. The Triple Sec helps too. So forgive its sweetness. The drink comes by it honestly. Get the recipe.
Cucumber Gin and Elderflower Martini
This is a great summer martini for those who don’t like even remotely sweet drinks. Gin is less common than vodka in martinis, but it’s a martini for sure. The elderberry liqueur enhances the herbal notes natural to gin. Get the recipe.
Fresh Tomato-Basil Martini
Lemon Meringue Martini
While many fruits remind us of summer, watermelon may be the most of the most-est. You can’t find it at supermarkets when it’s not in season. So celebrate pool season with a kick of vodka mixed with your watermelon. Get the recipe.
Above all else, master this classic martini. After that, everything else is gravy. Get our Perfect Martini recipe.
Header image courtesy of Home Away.