Forget the espresso martini — this strange, savory martini is the drink of the summer

They’re really shaking up the martini.

Some of the buzziest drinks in New York City are savory riffs on the classic cocktail and taste like garlic bread or caprese salad. By comparison, the standard dirty martini seems tame.

“There’s definitely an interest in savory flavors, more so than I’ve ever seen in my years in the bar industry. People are, in general, much more willing to take risks with their orders,” said Bryan Schneider, the creative director for the Quality Branded group, whose restaurants include Quality Italian and San Sabino.

Scottie’s Martini, aka “the garlic bread martini,” has been a surprise hit on the menu at San Sabino. Stefano Giovannini
Scottie’s Martini, aka “the garlic bread martini,” has been a surprise hit on the menu at San Sabino. Stefano Giovannini

The latter, an Italian-American seafood spot that opened in the West Village this past March, has taken the trend to a pungent extreme.

The restaurant’s “Scottie’s Martini” ($19) is better known as the “garlic bread martini” and it uses the process known as fat-washing to infuse vodka with all of the flavors of the beloved carb.

Garlic, sourdough bread scraps, dried oregano and chilies are sauteed in olive oil and butter. The flavor-infused butter and oil is then blended with vodka and the mixture is frozen. The fat components are then easily separated and removed, leaving behind a garlic bread-flavored vodka used to make the martini.

The unique drink, which is garnished with olives stuffed with feta and chopped cherry peppers, is one of the most popular cocktails on the menu.

“It’s definitely striking a chord,” said Schneider. “It’s a unique approach to the dirty martini.”

But not everyone is a fan.

Angie Rito, chef and co-owner of the restaurant, noted that her husband and business partner Scott Tacinelli doesn’t love it. So they named the drink after him.

The drink is made by mixing garlic, spices and bread bits in olive oil and butter. The mixture is then strained, combined with vodka and frozen for several hours. Stefano Giovannini
The drink is made by mixing garlic, spices and bread bits in olive oil and butter. The mixture is then strained, combined with vodka and frozen for several hours. Stefano Giovannini
“It’s definitely striking a chord,” said Bryan Schneider, the creative director for the Quality Branded restaurant group, said of the “garlic bread martini.” Stefano Giovannini
“It’s definitely striking a chord,” said Bryan Schneider, the creative director for the Quality Branded restaurant group, said of the “garlic bread martini.” Stefano Giovannini

“He’s not a huge martini drinker,” said Rito, who also has the popular Don Angie with fellow chef Tacinelli.

But customers seem to really enjoy it, and they aren’t concerned about its effect on their breath, given the rest of the menu.

“If you’re worried about having garlic breath after eating at the restaurant, go to a different restaurant,” said Rito.

The Caprese Martini is garnished with a cherry tomato. Stefano Giovannini
The Caprese Martini is garnished with a cherry tomato. Stefano Giovannini

The charming Cafe Spaghetti in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill has a less garlicky alternative.

Its simple Olive Oil Martini ($16, recipe below) is made with Askur gin fat-washed with extra virgin olive oil from Brooklyn importer D. Coluccio & Sons, which is used prominently in the restaurant’s kitchen.

“We worked with what we had in house,” Giovanna Cucolo, the restaurant’s general manager and partner, told The Post of the drink’s creation.

The fat washing process has been popular with bourbon cocktails for years. In 2007, New York bartender Don Lee invented the Benton’s Old Fashioned— a take on the boozy classic made with Benton’s bacon fat-infused bourbon — while working at the East Village speakeasy PDT (Please Don’t Tell). Fat-washed bourbon soon became a staple on trendy menus, but the process has only recently taken off with clear spirits.

Alberto Nieto (pitured) credits Jac’s on Bond’s former head bartender Trevor Easton Langer with bringing the Caprese Martini to the bar. Stefano Giovannini
Alberto Nieto (pitured) credits Jac’s on Bond’s former head bartender Trevor Easton Langer with bringing the Caprese Martini to the bar. Stefano Giovannini

Jac’s on Bond, a popular NoHo cocktail bar that opened last year, uses the method to infuse Grey Goose with tomato, basil and olive oil flavors for its Caprese Martini ($22).

“If you live more in the espresso martinis realm, it’s probably not going to be your cup of tea,” said head bartender Alberto Nieto. “It tastes like a salad.”

“It’s like you’re in the middle of the summer and you’re walking through a farmers’ market, and you see the warm tomatoes and you can almost taste them and you smell the mozzarella and basil,” added Kaitlin Prince, the bar’s managing partner.

Giovanna Cucolo, Cafe Spaghetti’s general manager and partner, said the Olive Oil Martini is one of the most popular cocktails at the restaurant. Stefano Giovannini
Giovanna Cucolo, Cafe Spaghetti’s general manager and partner, said the Olive Oil Martini is one of the most popular cocktails at the restaurant. Stefano Giovannini

The drink, which also features a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and Maldon salt, has been a hit on social media and at the bar, but Prince and Nieto admit that, while their beverage director can knock back three in one night, most customers stop at one.

“It’s one of those items where people hear about it and they have to try it,” said Prieto. Then, “a lot of people are like, ‘I’m so glad I had it, now I can order my real drink.'”

Olive Oil Martini from Cafe Spaghetti

Stefano Giovannini
Stefano Giovannini

Fat-wash the booze. Mix 1 liter of Askur gin with 4 ounces of extra virgin olive oil in a large container with lid. Stir mixture for 10 minutes to blend. Cover and place in the freezer for 24 hours, allowing the olive oil to solidify. Remove olive oil layer and strain remaining gin through a coffee filter.

Make the drink. Combine 2 1/2 ounces of the olive-oil gin with 1/4 oz. Cocchi Extra Dry vermouth and 1/4 oz. olive brine in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a skewered cocktail onion and olive.

Cafe Spaghetti makes its Olive Oil Martini with gin. Stefano Giovannini
Cafe Spaghetti makes its Olive Oil Martini with gin. Stefano Giovannini
Cafe Spaghetti uses a large container to freeze the gin and olive oil mixture. Stefano Giovannini
Cafe Spaghetti uses a large container to freeze the gin and olive oil mixture. Stefano Giovannini