What makes a modern classic cocktail? In the first of our new series of Cocktail Stories, bartending legend Salvatore Calabrese reveals the inspiration behind his iconic Breakfast Martini.
The dream of any bartender is that they are able to immortalise themselves with a great drink,” says world-renowned bartender Salvatore Calabrese. In his Breakfast Martini, Calabrese thinks he may have achieved just this.
Created by the Italian bartender almost 20 years ago, the mix of gin, orange and marmalade is now known the world over.
Calabrese says: “It doesn’t matter where I go: in Tokyo I find my Breakfast Martini, in Singapore I find my Breakfast Martini – it has become a modern classic.”
The drink’s origins lie in Calabrese’s usual morning routine, or lack of it. “My wife would see me first thing in the morning, when I would be less well polished,” he says. “She always used to say to me ‘why don’t you have breakfast, it gives you more energy’, and I used to say ‘no leave me alone, I just want my coffee’.”
However, after a particularly taxing shift the night before, Calabrese was left with no choice but to eat the breakfast his wife had prepared for him – marmalade on toast. According to Calabrese, his signature cocktail aimed to capture the “bitter and tangy” flavours and the sensations he felt on his first taste of marmalade on toast.
“The flavour of the marmalade was playing with my taste buds, so I kidnapped the whole jar and I created the Breakfast Martini,” says Calabrese. “To create the final drink, it was a journey in my mind. Before I make any drink I dream about the cocktail and the flavours.”
The finished drink now appears on cocktail menus all around the world, with the original recipe being served up day in, day out by its creator at the Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel in London.
Calabrese says: “I created the Breakfast Martini because I don’t do breakfast, and now, 20 years later, it’s still around. It is incredible.”
Click through to the next page for a list of ingredients and how to recreate the Breakfast Martini at home.