The lychee is a queen among fruit: delicate, floral, etherial, delicious. So it's a shame that that the most popular lychee cocktail is the Lychee Martini - an acrid, dated drink with none of the charm of the real fruit.
We've drunk our way through nearly every lychee cocktail recipe under the sun, and we've found 9 solid lychee cocktails good enough to make the cut to get into the Cocktail Party app.
This Little Lychee of Mine
Lychee Rose Bellini
Lychee puree, either fresh or off-the-shelf, is a great way to get the true flavor of lychee into cocktails – and it imparts a luscious, velvety texture. The Silk Sheets amps up the floral notes with elderflower liqueur, while the Sake Sangria takes advantage of the body and fruitiness for a killer no-wine sangria riff.
Lychee juice has a delicate flavor that can be difficult to balance with other strong flavors, but the Lotus Dragon uses that softness to make for a beautiful riff on the classic Screwdriver. This Little Lychee of Mine amps up the fragrant floral notes of lychee juice with a touch of rose water, resulting in a perfect gem of a gin cocktail. The Mystic Lamp plays on the exotic flavors of lychee with rum and almond extract, a surprisingly tasty combo. The Lychee Rose Bellini offers a sophisticated recipe featuring rose water and sparkling rosé wine.
Lychee liqueur is typically the villain in lychee cocktails; most brands are sickly-sweet and retain little of the charm of the real thing. We've had great results with Giffard's Litchi-Li, and we've heard good things about the versions from Marie Brizard and Drillaud. The Gulangyu Breeze is a great way to test out the flavor of a new bottle of lychee liqueur, and the Magnificent Lady is a perfect showpiece for the magic of the lychee-rose flavor combo.
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