Rambutini: A Rambutan Martini Recipe

Rambutan MartiniA Rambutan Martini Recipe — I’m calling it a Rambutini. Fun!

What is a rambutan, you ask?  Have you ever seen one?  Tried one?

I’d seen these jewels before, but didn’t know their name until last week when I was fortunate enough to learn about this super cool, exotic fruit from Melissa’s Produce.

Rambutan MartiniA rambutan is a very beautiful and unique looking fruit that’s closely related to a lychee.  And while its delicious taste is similar to a lychee, it’s slightly firmer in texture and a bit less sweet — though still quite sweet!

It’s somewhat like an extra sweet grape, without the skin and a with a pit in the center.

Rambutan MartiniYou should be able to find rambutans in Asian markets — their season seems to vary, depending on where they’re grown, but it’s roughly July through October.

This is a delightful tropical cocktail to serve at your next dinner party!Fresh Peeled RambutanAnd speaking of dinner parties. . . .  I had a small one last night and I’m hoping I can inspire you to recreate it this weekend.

Almost every day this week, I’ll be sharing components of the entrée, so you can make it for your guests.Fresh Peeled RambutanAnd the entrée is. . . . Muscato Grape-Shallot Pork Chops with Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potato and Citrus Steamed Asparagus.

Who’s excited?  Okay, excellent — but let’s start with a cocktail, shall we?

Rambutini: Rambutan Martini
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 fresh rambutans
  • 4 to 5-ounces vodka
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup ice
  1. Add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan and place it over medium-high heat. Heat just until the sugar has dissolved, then pour this into a small bowl to cool. (This is called simple syrup.)
  2. Peel and pit the rambutans. A ripe rambutan should be easy to peel with your fingers. (You might need to make a small cut at the top to get you started.) Be very gentle as you carefully remove the thin skin from the fruit.  It will likely come off in just a few pieces.
  3. Now use your fingers to dig into the flesh of the rambutan to remove the pit. It should very easily slide right out. Now use your fingers to dig into the lychee a bit to remove the pit. It should very easily slide right out.
  4. You’ll notice a very thin, white layer from the white pit, that will remain on the the inside of the fruit.  Don’t try to remove this — it’s very soft and doesn’t detract from the flavor of the fruit. (If you try to remove it, you might loose a lot of juice in the process.)
  5. Place the rambutan in a cocktail shaker and and muddle only until they are broken enough to release their juices. (You can use muddler or a wooden spatula.)
  6. Add the vodka, lime juice, vanilla, ice, and cooled simple syrup. Cover and shake fairly vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  7. Strain into two martini glasses and add a few of the pieces of the rambutan flesh that you strained out as well.
  8. Garnish each glass with a small lime wedge and part of the rambutan skin. (Use a paring knife to make a small slit in each, to attach it to the rim of the glass.)
You can also make a lychee martini, simply submitting them for the rambutan. You can likely find both fruits canned, and that will work, too. However, it's much more fun to use fresh, if you can find them.
If you can't find rambutans at your local Asian market, you can order them here.

Did you happen to notice those pretty, unusual limes? Those are Finger Limes.

Please use a good vodka -- I like Ketel One or Belvedere.

Fun fact: Though rambutan may look prickly, they're not at all -- they're soft! Their name comes from the Malaysian word for hair, "rambut".

This is not a sponsored post.


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  1. Diana says

    i live in Indonesia, and I have Rambutan tree planted in my front yard! It’s now in season, so it’s really cool coming across your recipe 🙂 Never have Rambutan look so chic.. haha
    definitely going to try this! thank you.

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