Adventure #8 – Mastering the Grape Excess Martini

February 5, 2010

The Grape Excess Martini was a drink I discovered about 4 years ago at a former Boston hot spot – Excelsior. It’s the most refreshing drink and it packs a powerful punch! It’s light, fizzy, sweet but not syrupy, and has a special treat of frozen grapes threaded on toothpicks, so it’s sorta like having a snack with your alcohol!

Regretfully, Excelsior shut its doors January 2009 and my life hasn’t been the same since. However towards the end of 2009, a new restaurant – Post 390 – opened up on Stuart St. with some of the same management and staff from Excelsior. I was thrilled when I saw the Grape Excess return to a Boston menu! However, disappointment struck hard when I went to Post and realized that this wasn’t the same drink as my beloved Excelsior. It was way too sweet, cloudy not clear, and just tasted off.  It was a devastating evening until I spoke to Mike, my favorite bartender at Post (and former Excelsior superstar), and asked him if he could make the martini the “Excelsior way”.  It was a huge success!Although Mike is fabulous and completely turned my night around, I decided that I needed a backup plan for my favorite libation. Why not just learn to make it at home? I was fortunate to find a recipe posted online from Brian Kirby, former bar manager of Excelsior. After just a few shakes (and an unfortunate casualty when I realized that I hadn’t washed out the shaker from a batch of dirty martinis from a few weeks prior), I was able to have a home version of this fizzy grape loveliness at my disposable at all times (scary!).

Below is the recipe for the perfect Grape Excess Martini. I warn you – do not deviate! The vodka must be Ciroc, as it is distilled from grapes. Post’s version uses Grape Infused vodka, which is the downfall of their cocktail. The sparking wine can be substituted for Prosecco or even Champagne. It’s not quite as sweet, but it’s still tasty. Do make the effort to freeze the grapes. That little treat at the end of your drink is worth the effort, I promise you!

Grape Excess Martini

Yield: 1 Serving


  • 3 ounces Ciroc Vodka (distilled from grapes)
  • 1 1/2 ounces white cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce Moscato d’Asti
  • 1 bunch frozen grapes

Method: Combine all ingredients into a martini shaker, shake for 5 seconds and strain. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with frozen grapes.