This recipe accompanies the post, In Defense of Cilantro.
For the adventurous, yet discriminating, cocktail drinker: this cocktail takes a little advanced planning – it’s based on a cilantro infusion which takes a few days to make. Cilantro in a cocktail sounds a little weird but it’s actually really good. That said, if you like cilantro you’ll probably enjoy this cocktail. If you don’t like cilantro you probably won’t. Fair warning.
To make the cilantro-infusion put 6 oz. (4 shots, makes four martinis) of your favorite vodka (or gin if you prefer) in a sealable container like a jar. Add a handful of fresh cilantro, seal the container, and leave it in the fridge for 3-4 days. During this time the alcohol will dissolve the volatile organic compounds that are responsible for cilantro’s flavor and take on a slight greenish tint. After 3-4 days strain the mixture to remove the cilantro, and the cilantro-infused vodka is ready to be used in the martini.
To make the martini: Add 1.5 oz. (1 shot) of the cilantro-infused vodka, the juice from half of a lime (1-2 oz.), a splash (about 0.5 oz.) of triple sec (or other orange liqueur), and a teaspoon of simple syrup (see instructions below) to a cocktail shaker along with a few ice cubes. Shake the mixture and strain into a short tumbler or cocktail glass. Garnish the martini with lime and a small sprig of cilantro if you have any available.
To make simple syrup: Add equal parts sugar and water to a sauce pan and heat on a stovetop until the sugar dissolves completely. Allow the syrup to cool and use as needed. Simple syrup keeps for about two weeks in the fridge and can be used to sweeten any cold drink, like iced tea, since it dissolves more easily than solid sugar.