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Ask A Detroit Bartender: Your Best Martini Recipe

Perhaps you're having friends over and you want to impress, but you're not sure what recipe to make. Check out this list for some unique and delicious martini recipes.
Sara Farmer
Punch Bowl Social
1331 Broadway St.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 749-9738

Sara Farmer has been in the restaurant business for 20 years, starting as a server and eventually becoming general manager. She started her career in Michigan, and has also bartended in Southern Florida. She won her first mixology competition 10 years ago, and currently works at Punch Bowl Social in Detroit.

Sara says:

"Throughout my career I have worn many hats, starting as a server and eventually moving my way to general manager. I began my career in Michigan and flirted with bartending in Southern Florida in places such as West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach. After spending several years down south, I went for the best of both worlds, I became a snowbird. I would spend my summers in Detroit and my winters in Florida. I love the warmth of Florida, even the oh so hot summers, but in the end Michigan has my heart. So several years ago I decided it was time to come home for good.

I, like many, did not start my career off thinking I would do this for much longer than college. Back then I had received an academic scholarship to Wayne State University and attended Honors College studying geology and environmental science. I'm a nerd. But I love people! I found bartending made me happy. It was about 10 years ago that I did my first competition in mixology, and I won! We had to make five drinks for the judges in different categories, one of which was a margarita. Well I was so nervous I forgot to put the tequila in mine. It was my lowest scoring drink, but thankfully not enough to offset my score. It was about this time I decided to get serious about what I was doing. If you're going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. Or change what you're doing to something you're passionate about. I had found my passion and was doing it my way. They say that's how you never work a day in your life. When we're four rows deep at Punch Bowl Social (where I'm currently bartending), it definitely feels like work. But the truth is, at the end of the night I've had a great time and so has my guests. That really is what it's all about. As bartenders, we create the memories that last a lifetime.

I try to continually improve on what I do. The more I learn, the less I know. I am active member of the USBG (U.S. Bartenders Guild) which helps me stay active and engaged in my community. I am BarSmarts and ServeSafe manager certified. I continually attend seminars, complete online training courses and search out knowledge about my field. I work hard to be able to provide the best guest experience I can.

In the end though, it's really about having fun and I try to never lose sight of that. People come to the bar for many reasons, but the bottom line is they are there to have a good time. And I am the most fortunate person because everyone is there to share those times with me."

White Chocolate Martini
  • 2 oz. Baileys
  • .75 oz  Kahlua
  • .75 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • .5 oz. White Chocolate Godiva
  • Garnish Hershey chocolate syrup


  1. Chill martini glass. Shake 1.5 oz of Baileys with the rest of the ingredients in a mixing tin with ice.
  2. Draw a design in chilled glass with chocolate syrup.
  3. Strain ingredients into glass.
  4. Shake vigorously remaining Baileys with ice and strain over martini. This creates a froth that is perfect to draw a design over the top of your martini.

Related: Best Happy Hour Bars in Detroit

Monkey Around
  • 1.5 oz. Monkey Shoulder Scotch
  • 1 oz. Apple Pie Brandy
  • .75 oz New Holland Clockwork Orange
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish with orange express


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into chilled coupe or martini.
  3. To create, take a slice of fresh orange peel and squeeze it over the drink with outside of rind facing down. This will release oils over the cocktail creating a smell that is amazing every time you take a sip!
Nice N' Easy
  • 2 oz. Blood Orange Vodka
  • 1.5 oz. Strawberry simple syrup
  • 1 oz. lemonade
  • .25 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • .25 oz Blue Curacao
  • Garnish with luxardo cherries and a quartered strawberry


  1. Shake all ingredients except the blue curacao in a shaker tin with ice and stain into a martini glass.
  2. Slowly pour blue curacao into the martini. The curacao is heavier and will sink to the bottom, creating a layered cocktail that is absolutely stunning.
  3. Place luxardo cherries (2 or 3) on the bottom of a cocktail skewer and strawberry on top.

Strawberry Simple Syrup:

  1. Combine 1 part sugar and 1 part water in sauce pan and heat to a boil.
  2. Cut up strawberries in quarters and remove stems.
  3. Remove from heat and add a quart of strawberries for every 3 liters of sugar water mixture.
  4. Let steep for about an hour.
  5. Strain out whole strawberries. You can also juice the strawberries and add juice, then there is no need for steeping time.

Related: 2014's Best New Cocktail Bars in Detroit

Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at and

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