If you’re looking for something a little different to serve for dessert on Friday (which in case you’ve forgotten, guys, is Valentine’s Day) how about a dessert martini?
OK, purists will fling up their hands in horror - these are, of course, not martinis in the strict sense of the word, merely very pretty, seductive drinks - half cocktail, half dessert - which you serve in a (preferably frosted) martini glass.
What you need is a tub of ice cream or sorbet - the flavour is up to you, a neutral spirit (vodka, white rum or silver tequila) and possibly a complementary liqueur or fruit juice (a squeeze of lime juice with mango, for instance). Don’t be tempted to skimp on the ingredients though - you don’t want these cocktails to taste cheap.
Proportions should be 1 generous scoop of ice cream or sorbet per person, 11/2-2 shots of spirits and maybe 1/2 a shot of liqueur. Simply whizz all the ingredients up in a blender, check for taste (that’s the good bit), decorate and serve.
In the past I’ve made a sublime chocolate mint martini for two with a couple of scoops of Green & Black’s mint chocolate ice cream, 4 shots of vodka and 2 tbsp Kahlua. I see they don’t make that flavour any more but you could add a few drops of creme de menthe or peppermint essence to their dark chocolate ice cream.
Fruit sorbets respond really well to this treatment. Add a couple of shots of tequila to a few fresh strawberries sweetened with a little sugar, whizz then add a scoop of strawberry sorbet and whizz again for a delicious frozen strawberry margarita. Mango sorbet is great with white rum and a dash of lime, lemon sorbet can be enhanced by vodka and limoncello and orange by vodka and a dash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
The trick is to add the alcohol element cautiously (you can always add a little more) and carefully check the balance between the base flavour and the booze. It's useful to have some sugar syrup (gomme) to hand to add a little extra sweetness if needed. Oh, and start with all your bottles fridge cold so your frozen cocktail doesn’t thaw too quickly.
Finally for a sure-fire winner let me give you my recipe for a banoffee martini which also makes a very effective - and easy - dinner party dessert if you make it in slightly larger quantities.
1 medium sized ripe*, peeled, sliced banana (about 100g peeled weight)
3 shots (6 tbsp) vanilla vodka
2 shots (4 tbsp) toffee-flavoured liqueur (such as Dooley's)
2 shots (4 tbsp) whole milk (i.e. not semi-skimmed)
A tiny pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
Good quality powdered drinking chocolate to garnish
Whizz the banana in a blender with the vodka. Tip the puree into a shaker full of ice cubes, add the toffee liqueur, milk and nutmeg if using and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glasses and sift a little chocolate powder over the surface.
* This is important. Don't attempt this with an underripe banana or the banana flavour won't come through.
If you'd like to subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and be eligible to enter our fabulous prize draws click here.