Jamaican Martini and Kingston Cocktail

Rum is fast becoming one of our favourite liquors; it’s flavourful without being offensive, potent and works in a wide variety of cocktails. In celebration of this versatility, we chose to review a rum based drink. Incidentally – and completely unrelated – we have a TON of dark and spiced rum in the bar the moment, as evidenced by the bottles spilling over onto the top. However, there is a slight twist this time around.

Many cocktails have variants that either substitute or add extra ingredients to it. In the past, we’ve reviewed a fair few variations, regardless of whether we’ve reviewed the original or not, but never actually the original and the variation in one go. As they say, there’s a first time for everything, so let’s go, go, go!

The Jamaican Martini is not really a martini in the traditional sense – there’s a distinct lack of vodka, gin or vermouth which are all ‘typical’ martini ingredients. Hell, it’s not even garnished with an olive! Instead, it’s a rather delightful mixture of just two ingredients: dark Jamaican rum and Tia Maria. Given that a mere ½ ounce of Tia Maria is the only thing standing between you and the potential ferocity of dark rum, you may find it somewhat surprising just how much depth of flavour there is in the Jamaican Martini. Both are quality ingredients, and it shows in the final result; it’s smooth, invigorating and warming all at once. There’s heat from the booze but no actual harsh aftertaste, only a syrupy finish that leaves a slight tingle on your palate.

It’s like an alcoholic espresso, only this espresso is less bitter and sweeter than it’s typical caffeinated rival. We’re not saying that you should ask for a shot of a Jamaican Martini in your morning coffee, but you would probably enjoy it as an alternative after dinner nightcap, or perhaps as an alternative to the commonly found Espresso Martini. 


Not pictured: like, 4 other bottles of rum.

And now, onto the variation: the Kingston Cocktail. There is only one difference between this and the original recipe but boy, it’s amazing the difference that a mere quarter ounce of lime juice can make. Naturally, it brings a tart, citric note to the whole affair but more than that it truly brings the Jamaican rum alive. Yes, it lessens the alcoholic heat of the drink somewhat, but it also lifts the cocktail as a whole and makes it feel a lot lighter whilst holding firm to the coffee element. It’s a friendlier cocktail when compared with the Jamaican Martini so if you’re feeling adventurous then we would encourage you to try the former, but if you want a mellower experience then the Kingston Cocktail is the one for you.


If you’ve noticed an increased picture quality, that’s because we’re using a different camera. Hooray for technology!

Jamaican Martini Recipe:

♦  2 ounces dark Jamaican rum

♦  ½ ounce Tia Maria

Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Kingston Cocktail Recipe:

♦  2 ounces dark Jamaican rum

♦  ½ ounce Tia Maria

♦  ¼ ounce lime juice

Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.



Thoughts, feedback or have your own recipe? Let us know here!