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Cheers! Spring is the perfect time for this martini with a floral bouquet

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The burst of floral taste in this reimagined martini is the perfect spring drink.

It really is spring! Warm weather seems to be a regular part of the season and not just an occasional day teasing us only to be followed by snow. The flowers are blooming all over.

That prompted Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings to try a floral version of a popular variation on the martini. The Astoria was the classic version. The Flora Astoria is the contemporary take. Tammy took the latter in a slightly different direction.

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
These ingredients and a lemon twist and you're on your way to enjoying a Flora Astoria adaptation from Tammy.

First, she chose Mammoth Distilling’s Contemporary Northern Gin.

“And I chose that very specifically because I wanted a spring inspired cocktail. And one of the botanicals that they use is lavender. Flower flavors to me just screams spring,” Tammy said.

She also used lavender bitters.

“I’ve got a plan going on here, Lester.”

The big debate about martinis is how much vermouth to use. A friend tells me the closest he gets to putting vermouth in his martini is setting the unopened bottle next to the glass. Dry martinis pretty much rule the martini realm.

“The problem for many years was that vermouth was stored badly. It’s wine-based. Imagine leaving a bottle of chardonnay on your counter for ten years after you opened it and deciding to pour yourself another glass,” Tammy said.

Every mixologist will caution you to put your vermouth in the refrigerator!

The classic Astoria is an inverse martini. It uses two parts vermouth to one part gin.

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen mixing her version of a Flora Astoria.

Tammy’s Flora Astoria doesn’t go that far, but the two different vermouths (dry and blanc) together make up one part to two parts gin.

“So, still quite a wet martini by modern standards, especially since we’ve got some sweetness coming from the blanc vermouth,” Tammy explained.

“But, it’s spring! We want something that’s got some beautiful full flavors to it that’s not austere and cold like the winter.”

To me, this had everything you'd want from a well-balanced martini plus that burst of floral. I usually like a dry martini (you can add some blue cheese stuffed olives, please) and I like this variation a lot.

Flora Astoria

2 oz gin (Mammoth Distilling)
1/2 oz blanc vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 dash lavender bitters

Garnish: lemon twist

Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into coupe or martini glass. Garnish.

(Adapted from a recipe by Lindsay Nader and Anne Robinson in the PDT cocktail book. To make the original, add 1 teaspoon of Velvet Falernum)

Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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