20 best marmalade, preserves & conserves cocktails
Words by Simon Difford
Photography by Dan Malpass
Created in 1996 by Salvatore Calabrese, the Breakfast Martini is not actually a Martini, but merely a gin-based sour served in a V-shaped Martini glass but was created in the 1990s when any cocktail in such a glass tended to be called a "Martini".
Harry Craddock's 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book includes a recipe to a Marmalade Cocktail, very similar to Salvatore's Breakfast Martini. However, Salvatore says that the inspiration to his drink, which is simply a White Lady with marmalade in it, was the hearty English breakfast and not the classic English bartending book.
Salvatore's Breakfast Martini quickly became a contemporary classic, replicated in bars around the world and has inspired bartenders to create their own cocktails using preserves/conserves such as jam (or jelly if you're American) and marmalade [see this guide to the differences between marmalade, jam, jelly and conserves].
At the time of writing this page there are 22 cocktails on Difford's Guide using orange marmalade alone. Tellingly, a number of these cocktails have "Breakfast" as part of their name.
With: Dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice and English orange marmalade.
We say: Salvatore Calabrese's Breakfast Martini was inspired by the hearty English breakfast, and its success or failure is partly reliant on the quality of marmalade used.
With: Vodka, apricot jam, cranberry juice, sugar syrup, lime juice and Angostura Orange Bitters.
We say: The apricot preserve adds a flavoursome tang to the contemporary classic.
With: White rum, honey, English orange marmalade and Lapsang Souchong tea.
We say: Slightly smoky with incredible depth of flavour – this is a perfectly balanced delight.
With: Dy gin, lime cordial, English orange marmalade and lemon juice.
We say: Orange marmalade both justifies the "breakfast" prefix and adds complexity to this gimet.
Breakfast in Manhattan
With: Bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura Orange Bitters and English orange marmalade.
We say: The great British Breakfast Martini comes to Manhattan.
Clara Astié Cocktail
With: White rum, apricot jam, dry vermouth, Maraschino, Bob's Grapefruit Bitters and (optional) chilled water.
We say: Tangy apricot with hints of maraschino dried by vermouth and fortified by light rum.
Clover Club (House-Made)
With: Dry gin, raspberry jam, dry vermouth and lemon juice.
We say: Fruity, light, well-balanced and easy-drinking.
El Momento Perfecto
With: White rum, Lillet blanc, Byrrh aperitif aromatised wine, Campari and English orange marmalade.
We say: A rum and marmalade Negroni-like drink.
With: Dry gin, Campari, English orange marmalade, lemon juice and Angostura Orange Bitters.
We say: The addition of Campari and aromatic bitters to the classic recipe from the 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book, lifts the Marmalade Cocktail to a new level of bittersweet complexity.
With: Absinthe, white rum, lime juice, falernum, English orange marmalade, Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
We say: Basically a bitter orange and clove daiquiri. We found this recipe really sung when we added a splash of water for some extra dilution and half a barspoon of sugar. Perhaps our No Peel Orange Marmalade from Wilkin & Sons was a tad on the sour side – or even our limes. Once balance was adjusted this particular "Breakfast" was very tasty.
With: Dry gin, English orange marmalade and lemon juice.
We say: Harry wrote of his own drink, "By its bitter-sweet taste this cocktail is especially suited to be a luncheon aperitif."
With: English orange marmalade, cachaça, lemon juice, Angostura Orange Bitters and egg white.
We say: Tangy sweet and sour marmalade flavours combine with the distinctive grassy notes of cachaça.
Milanese Breakfast Martini
With: Dry gin, English orange marmalade, Campari, lemon juice and prosecco.
We say: A fruity but dry aperitif drink served 'up' but with a hint of sparkle from prosecco.
With: Calvados, lemon juice, sugar syrup and damson jam.
We say: Apple brandy and damson jam combine brilliantly in this tangy but not at all sweet cocktail.
Paddington Bear Martini
With: Dry gin, English orange marmalade, bianco vermouth and peruvian pisco.
We say: Tangy orange marmalade with gin and pisco rounded with bianco vermouth.
With: Jägermeister, berry fruit tea, lemon juice, maple syrup and blackcurrant jam.
We say: Easy drinking and neither bitter or too sweet, it's hard not to like this rich herbal fruity cocktail.
Quince Mustard Margarita
With: Quince mustard jam, black pepper, reposado tequila, triple sec, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A wonderfully quince influenced Margarita.
Three Hundred Poems
With: Cognac, lemon juice, sugar syrup and blackcurrant jam.
We say: Blackcurrant jam adds rich concentrated berry notes to this attractive crimson red cognac laced cocktail.
With: Strawberry conserve jam, cognac, red wine, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
We say: As Robb, the creator of this drink, says, it is "short, strong and fruity, pulls out all the deeper notes from the cognac."
With: Bourbon whiskey, English orange marmalade, lemon juice, Angostura Orange Bitters and Erdinger Weisbier.
We say: Wheaty bourbon with wheat beer and marmaladey citrus notes – they all go hand in hand and so work harmoniously in this unusual long drink.