The Piquant Ingredients That Make Up A Tomatini

Tomatoes and martinis? Hang with us. Though this may sound like some kind of rival of a Bloody Mary cocktail, Tomatinis offer a similarly refreshing, savory drink recipe that can keep you going through an evening of good-natured debauchery or simply be the subtle wakeup your Sunday morning brunches call for — but the texture is a lot thinner than a Bloody Mary mix. 

This surprising drink recipe first burst onto the bartending scene in 2010 via the restaurant group LPM, and its team sought to bring classic Mediterranean ingredients straight into a glass. And one could make the case they succeeded; with lemons, tomatoes, vinegar, and Ketel One, this unique martini mix offers a tangy punch that can complement a range of appetizers and main dishes. After your first order, you may be pushing other martini varieties to the side and asking for Tomatinis to go with your next meal, whether you're ordering a Mediterranean-inspired entrée or not. 

Background of the Tomatini

"Back in the early days of the cocktail, some guests were hesitant [about trying it] due to the idea of having a savory cocktail," LPM's Global Bar Manager admitted to CNN. Gazpacho soup often came to the minds of customers, but those curious enough to try a new recipe were pleasantly surprised. 

Tomatinis are often served to guests in coupe glasses, elevating the presentation of this martini order, and instead of a bright red tomato color, drinks are pink in flavor and topped with a thin layer of creamy foam. From Las Vegas to London, the drink has become a fixture on LPM menus, and other restaurants and bartenders have adapted the original recipe to serve their unique interpretations of the drink. With only a handful of ingredients, even less-than-experienced bartenders can muddle and shake their way to delivering an interesting cocktail experience to serve surprised, skeptical, and impressed guests.

How a Tomatini is made

To serve this bright, zingy martini, reach for fresh, juicy tomatoes and get mixing. Ripe tomatoes offer a kick of tartness while also delivering a subtle sweetness that serves as a significant component of this recipe. And while the original Tomatini used Ketel One vodka, feel free to use whatever quality vodka you have stocked at home. Next, you'll need balsamic vinegar; white varieties will keep the finished drink on the lighter side, but if you want a heavier mouthfeel, you can try experimenting with a dark variety.

To finish the martini, decide if you'd like an earthier, spicer kick with sprinkles of freshly ground black pepper or strive to create a sweeter cocktail with swirls of honey, agave, or simple syrup. Blend all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice, just as you've seen your favorite bartender do, then strain and serve into chilled glasses. For garnish, a light topping of ground black pepper or flavored salt can wake up the senses, and, of course, a cherry or grape tomato sits nicely on a glass when sliced or pierced by a cocktail stick.

Once you have the basic Tomatini recipe mastered, change things up by swapp vodka for gin, using different kinds of tomatoes, squeezing in a touch of lemon, or adding in complementary herbs like basil and rosemary to give your Tomatini an extra boost of Mediterranean love.