Clean & Simple Key Lime Martini

Published November 19, 2021
Cocktail with sweet lime slice


  • ¾ ounces freshly squeezed key lime juice
  • ¾ ounces simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Key lime wheel for garnish


  1. Chill a cocktail or martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the key lime juice, simple syrup, and vodka.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a key lime.


This is the key lime martini at its simplest: clear, clean, and tasty. If you like the flavor of key lime, then keep it simple and the citrus will shine in this basic version. However, feel free to jazz it up.

  • Replace the vodka with citrus vodka for some more citrus tang.
  • Add a dash or two of cardamom cocktail bitters for interesting aromatics.
  • Replace the vodka with gin for a more aromatic cocktail.
  • Replace the vodka with vanilla vodka for some classic key lime pie flavors.
  • Infuse the simple syrup with grated key lime peel for even more flavor.
  • Replace the vodka with coconut rum.


The perfect garnish for a key lime martini is a teeny tiny key lime wheel or wedge. But you aren't limited to the classic garnish.

  • Before adding ice to the cocktail shaker, vigorously dry shake all ingredients with 1 egg white for about 1 minute to foam. Then, add ice and shake again. Garnish the egg white foam with a grating of fresh cardamom.
  • Use a traditional or key lime peel as garnish.
  • Sugar the a lime wedge around the rim and dip it in superfine sugar.

About the Key Lime Martini

Purists will tell you that this martini isn't a classic martini, and that's okay. Let them scoff--they're the ones missing out. Key limes are slightly sweeter and somehow lime-ier than the traditional Persian limes (those are the big ones in the grocery store), so they are perfect for a citrus-forward drink that's served chilled and up in a martini glass.

Now about those key limes. Many people find it challenging to get the juice out of the tiny little fruits, but here's an easy hack: quarter the limes and put them through a clean garlic press, peel and all. You'll have a drink's worth of juice in no time flat.

Big Flavor Comes in Small Packages

Sure key limes are tiny, but their flavor is mighty. The bright sweetness of the lime in this simple cocktail makes it well worth squeezing every last drop of juice out of the fruit. This drink is so delicious, you'll buy a garlic press just to squeeze the key limes.

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Clean & Simple Key Lime Martini