Cilantro Martini © Lauren Feighery
Across the country, bartenders are moving away from heavy, earthy cocktails and replacing them with bright and bracing drinks made with fresh herbs. At Austin’s Drink.Well, co-owner Jessica Sanders and her bar staff created three tinctures (rosemary, cilantro and basil) to star in off-the-menu herbal gin martinis. Each tincture—made with quality vodka infused in a jar packed with herbs—complements a specific gin and vermouth.
Sanders’s favorite is the cilantro martini. She pairs the house-made tincture with Death’s Door gin from Wisconsin. “It has three primary botanicals: juniper, coriander and fennel,” Sanders says. “We saw the coriander and thought cilantro was the natural way to go.”(Coriander often refers to the seeds of the cilantro plant.) Inspired by the classic Latin combination of cilantro and orange flavors, Sanders chose Cocchi Americano, an aperitif flavored with orange peel, to use in place of vermouth in the cocktail. “It’s a little on the sweeter side of a dry martini,” Sanders says. “But it still has that nice cold brightness that people are going to expect from a martini.” Here, more tasty seasonal cocktails made with herbs.