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How to Make the Perfect Breakfast Martini at Home with the "Cocktail Maestro" Salvatore Calabrese

If you're looking to create bar-worthy cocktails at home, there's no one better to show you how than the cocktail Maestro himself, Salvatore Calabrese. Here he shares his recipe for the famous Breakfast Martini.

Salvatore Calabrese needs little introduction as he is regarded as one of the world’s leading bartenders and is a former President of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild. In celebration of the new Once Upon a Time cocktail menu at the The Donovan Bar at Brown's Hotel, here Salvatore share his famous martini recipe and tips on how to recreate amazing cocktails at home.

Salvatore has been making drinks for more than 40 years in top hotels, private members clubs and exclusive cocktail bars so you know this cocktail recipe is going to be top-notch.

In 1980 Salvatore moved to England and joined the Dukes Hotel, where he came up with the concept of Liquid History and created the recipe for the ultimate Dry Martini. He later worked at the Lanesborough Hotel and ran his own bar at the Fifty St James club. The Maestro now oversees The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel Mayfair for which he is the mastermind behind the impeccable cocktail menu.

"This is my signature drink, a modern classic popular throughout the world. It has texture and a bitter sweet flavour from the marmalade"

Dry with a hint of citrus and a lingering bittersweet flavour from marmalade. This masterpiece uses a method that Salvatore developed in 1996 from being encouraged to eat breakfast one morning by his wife (when, for most Italians, an expresso is all that is required for breakfast). A piece of toast and marmalade was served to Salvatore – for which the inspiration developed.

The Breakfast Martini - Salvatore Calabrese's Recipe

"The dream for any bartender is to immortalise themselves with a drink. More than any of my other creations, the Breakfast Martini is the cocktail that has become known throughout the world, making it a modern classic."


  • 50 ml London Dry Gin or Vodka (depending on personal preference)
  • 15 ml Cointreau
  • 15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 full bar spoon of thin cut Orange Marmalade


Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice * Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass * Shred some orange peel on the top of the drink as garnish. * Serve

Salvatore Calabrese's Tips for Making Perfect Cocktails at Home

You are the martini maestro! What’s your top tips for every home bartender to make a perfect martini?

Store your preferred spirit “Gin o Vodka” and cocktail glass in the freezer. A perfect Martini is one that stays cold enough all throughout the drinking period. Pour your measure of spirit directly into the frozen glass. Use a good quality dry vermouth, just a couple of dashes will do, and garnish with a good quality green olive or unwaxed zest of very fresh lemon. This is my own personal method, well known around the world as the direct or perfect Martini. If you wish to make a martini in the traditional way with a mixing glass for more dilution prepare in the same way and use the best quality ice that you can find.

Who or what inspires you to create cocktail recipe?

Many things, the inspiration can come from an encounter with a person, a place or an environment, or simply the ingredients available at the time. For example, my Breakfast Martini was inspired many years ago when my wife insisted that I eat some breakfast and presented me with some toast and delicious orange marmalade.

You achieved legendary status working at top venues in Italy and London. What’s the most important things you learned about making perfect cocktails?

I have opened bars all around the world including America and Hong Kong. I would study the ingredients available and what flavours they would bring to a drink and how they could be balanced with sweet, sour, or spicy flavours and any other elements that might be available. It takes time and patience to create a perfect harmony of flavours which will give the cocktail a perfect journey on the palette and a wonderful drinking experience.

The Donovan Bar

Residing in one of London’s most iconic hotels, Brown’s, the Donovan Bar has long been known as one of the most intimate and sophisticated drinking dens in the city playing host to gatherings of the most glamorous faces of Mayfair’s elite fashion and art scene. Taking inspiration from the bar’s namesake and close friend of the Forte family, the iconic 1960’s photographer Sir Terence Donovan, Salvatore Calabrese has created a sublime menu marrying his personal classics with original concoctions. Relax with an aperitif, savour mouth-watering bar snacks or enjoy an after-dark libation tucked away in the Donovan Bar’s ‘Naughty Corner’ (pictured above). The bar seats up to 60 people and is open to both hotel guests and visitors from 4pm to midnight, Tuesday to Saturday.

Visit The Donovan Bar, Brown's Hotel now