Normally, when people think of drinks that are acceptable alongside their eggs and toast, their minds go to the holy trinity of brunch drinks: the Bloody Mary, Mimosa and Ramos Gin Fizz. Generally, the Martini is not counted amongst those august peers, as normally the only time to drink them during the day is if you’re throwing back to the era of the “three Martini lunch.” Then London bartender Salvatore Calabrese created a Martini you can enjoy any time of day without being a midcentury business executive. The secret is including orange marmalade.
The story goes that Calabrese, who normally opted for an espresso for breakfast, developed the idea for the Breakfast Martini after his wife encouraged him to have some toast and marmalade one morning. He then went to work at the Library Bar at the Lanesborough Hotel and created what has become a modern classic.
Despite its name and its gin base, the cocktail doesn’t share much in common with your average Martini. Instead, it has similarities to a White Lady, with gin, orange liqueur and freshly squeezed lemon juice; some versions of it even call for an egg white, though that is not included in the original recipe. There’s also a resemblance to another breakfast drink, the Corpse Reviver #2, which likewise includes gin, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, though that cocktail adds absinthe and an aperitif.
The exact ingredients for the cocktail are flexible. Feel free to use whatever gin style or brand most appeals. Similarly, while most recipes call for Combier as the orange liqueur, others like Cointreau or Grand Marnier can work well instead.
While it is called the Breakfast Martini, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying it at another time of day. The drink is bright, juicy, and vivid, with a touch of sweetness and a good balance of tartness, perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif or a late night indulgence. If you really love it, you can even try your hand at making your own kumquat marmalade for a real treat.
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (such as Combier)
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 barspoon orange marmalade
- Garnish: lemon wheel
Add the gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and marmalade into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Garnish with a lemon wheel.