The Jammy '90s Martini That Turned Breakfast Into A Party

Step aside, Bloody Marys. Today we're talking about an iconic superstar of the brunch cocktail world, and it isn't the Mimosa. Introducing the Breakfast Martini: the jammy '90s Martini that turned breakfast into a party.

The story goes that, in 1996, London-based Italian bartender Salvatore Calabrese created the drink at a hotel in Mayfair called the Lanesborough (via PUNCH). Calabrese eventually went on to serve as the longtime President of the United Kingdom Bartender's Guild, per Difford's Guide. But, on the day he created the cocktail that would earn him mixology fame, Calabrese was working at the Library Bar, the resident cocktail spot inside the Lanesborough, located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace. 

On the particular morning of Calabrese's invention, his wife was embarking on a long (and, until then, unsuccessful) string of attempts to get him to eat something before work. "I'm a very typical Italian person," says Calabrese. "The first thing in the morning, all I can do is an espresso. I'm like a zombie." But, when his wife pushed orange marmalade on toast as a modest morning meal compromise, Calabrese took a liking to the taste and swiped the marmalade jar to experiment with at work. The rest is history: the Breakfast Martini was born. So, what does it taste like? And what's all the hype about?

Pump up the jam

Calabrese was inspired by orange marmalade on toast and, fittingly, marmalade became part of the drink's recipe. To make a Breakfast Martini, according to PUNCH, orange marmalade and fresh lemon juice are combined with gin and triple sec (like Cointreau or Curaçao). The drink is served neat in a martini glass and garnished with shaved orange peel. Allegedly, he tried making a version of it that incorporated simple syrup but found that the sweetness didn't work as well as the orange liqueur's bitterness.

The drink took off in part because, before the popularization of the Breakfast Martini, preserves were a yet untouched ingredient in the mixology world. But, the cocktail has paved the way for many other jammy mixes since its creation. In the spicy Border Agitation cocktail, hot pepper jelly is shaken with lemon juice, simple syrup, and Cachaça, via Saveur. The Kentucky Christmas muddles a handful of fresh cranberries in the bottom of a glass. But, when it comes to the classic Breakfast Martini, Difford's Guide says the outcome of your cocktail can only be as good as the quality of the marmalade you use. For a pleasant mouthfeel, the outlet recommends opting for a "fine cut" or "no peel" marmalade next time you decide to level up your brunch with the innovative '90s cocktail.