Robert Burns famously declared, “O my Luve’s like a red, red rose.” For Big Apple bartender Ian Hardie, tasked with creating a cocktail for Valentine’s Day, it’s more like a red, red Martini. And also a rose.
“New Yorkers love drinking Martinis, and though many know exactly how they like it, we thought this would be a fun way to explore a more elegant take on the classic,” says Hardie, who heads the bar at the swanky New York EDITION hotel. “Incorporating floral notes and delicate botanicals makes it perhaps more accessible to those who don’t normally drink Martinis. Plus it’s a natural liaison with Valentine’s Day and a nice way to harken to the occasion without delving into gimmicks.”
He’s not kidding about incorporating floral notes. Not only does the Martini By Any Other Name feature a rose-petal fan as a garnish, Lillet rose is part of the recipe and rose petals are muddled into the drink during prep. The result is an old-school gin-based Martini tinted with all the hues of romance.
With this one concoction, Hardie is tapping into at least three traditions.
“The first is floriography,” he explains. “It’s the psychic ‘language’ uptight Victorians created to express affections through flowers and their hues.”
The second is New York’s fabled obsession with Martinis; the city is the supposed birthplace of the cocktail. And it’s a forgone conclusion the rose has a headlock on love and passion; in the Iliad, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love herself, protected the body of Hector with “the immortal oil of the rose” after he was killed in the Trojan War, which means the flower was already getting devine PR as early as the 12th century BC.
It’s been off to the races ever since: infamous Roman emperor Elagabalus doused his party guests in rose petals, the Tudors made the bloom its royal seal, Juliet compares and contrasts one at her window, and just TRY giving your sweetheart some other flower on Valentine’s Day.
The Martini By Any Other Name debuts at the EDITION on February 10 and will have a limited run. But good bartenders know what their patrons want, and romance is never out of season. This is one recipe that will make everyone come out smelling like a rose.
A Martini by Any Other Name
- 2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
- 3/4 oz. Lillet Rose
- 3/4 oz. Italicus
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Preparation: Muddle three rose petals in a shaker. Add gin, Lillet, Italicus, and bitters. Stir and pour into a Nick & Nora glass, with a rose petal fan on the rim.