Elevate Your Next Gin Martini With One Floral Ingredient

Here at Tasting Table, we're no strangers to martini variations – and if you've visited a cocktail bar in the past year, there's a good chance that neither are you. Espresso martinis have been having a moment recently, reports The New York Times. Lemon drop martinis, Vesper martinis, 50/50s, or classic "dry" varieties have emerged as commonplace fixtures in the contemporary mixology scene. Today, we're talking about another, perhaps less heard-of gin martini variation perfect for your next girls' night in, anniversary, Valentine's Day cocktail hour, picnics, or Mother's Day. Introducing: the rose martini. Gin is naturally already botanical, making rose a fitting flavor addition. Plus, the rose martini comes with a charming pink hue free of charge. (Think Cosmopolitan but more bubblegum-pink than magenta.)

As in any martini variation, the rose cocktail features a fairly minimal alteration of the original recipe. Wine Enthusiast suggests replacing vermouth with the fortified wine Lillet Rosé. (For tequila fans, Lillet Rosé is a terrific floral addition to a Paloma.) For more botanical dimensionality, the outlet also suggests adding a dash of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur. For a slightly brighter rose martini, The Spruce Eats recommends adding rose-infused simple syrup and a dash of grapefruit bitters. (Hello again, Paloma fans.) But how do you incorporate the delicate rose flavor without overdoing it? (We're glad you asked.)

Put on your rose-colored glasses

To make a homemade rose simple syrup, says Sugar & Cloth, "simply" combine honey, water, and rose water in a saucepan on the stove. If you've ever made any other kind of infused simple syrup before, then this process will likely look familiar. Per Treehugger, you can also make your own rose water at home. Gather some organic, pesticide-free roses (get these from a farmer's market or grow them yourself) and distill or infuse them in a little water on the stove.

Aside from the actual rose flavor, selecting a complementary gin is one of the essential parts of nailing a scrumptious rose martini. Hendrick's gin features a trademark infusion of rose and cucumber for a more rose-forward flavor. If a heavier botanical cocktail is more your style, Sipsmith's V.J.O.P. (Very Junipery Over Proof) gin packs a major juniper flavor and a navy strength of 57.7% ABV. In fact, its V.J.O.P recipe uses twice the amount of juniper berries as its London dry gin. Ransom's Old Tom Gin is juniper-forward but also features flavor notes of cardamom and angelica, which could provide a complementary spicy herbal aspect to a rose martini. To finish, garnish your cocktail with sliced strawberries, a sprig of rosemary or lavender, or fresh rose petals.