With round juicy sweet flesh nestled in bumpy pink shells, the lychee fruit wins for exotic allure. Its refreshing, honeyed flavor has wound its way through drinks around town, giving pink drinks a good name—eh, for now, anyway.


On a weekday evening bustling to the brim, it takes almost 15 minutes for a seat to open up at the bar. However, the Sparkling Cocktail ($11), mixed by an efficient, amicable bartender, makes it worth the wait. A layered pour of Cava, crème de cassis and lychee juice is served in a flute, topped with a twist of Meyer lemon. Bubbly and refreshing, the effect is an ethereal citrus nectar giving way to a complex cassis-induced linger. The lychee is bottled under the Maaza brand, more of a “drink” than “juice”—diluted lychee puree mixed with sugar and stabilizers—purchased from the Indian market across the street. Talk about eating (and drinking) locally.

[502 Mass. Ave., Central Sq., Cambridge. 617.576.1900. rendezvouscentralsquare.com]


Five house vodka infusions dot the cocktail menu, including blueberry, apricot and pineapple, but I make a beeline for the lychee. On its own (the waitress kindly gives me a shot upon request, gratis), the lychee vodka is a delicate, heavenly spirit. The scent is deliciously floral, the taste pure and subdued. However, the Lycheedoro ($14) cocktail, which combines the infusion with white grape juice, Lillet Blanc and simple syrup, completely erases all subtleties. Too sweet and too cold, the cocktail tastes like Welch’s taken right from the fridge. Next time, I’ll splurge for lychee vodka alone with a splash of Lillet Blanc, shaken and served straight up.

[33 Stanhope St., Back Bay, Boston. 617.572.3311. 33restaurant.com]


Despite its lack of a physical bar, there’s a full cocktail menu available at this subterranean haven of Indian food. Magically prepared in the kitchen, the Lychee Martini ($8) is mixed with lychee juice and your vodka of choice. The resultant drink wins the prize for adorable A-for-effort presentation: a stemless glass with pink liquid comes with a skinny red straw (a swizzle stick getting the glamour shot treatment?) and a lychee fruit submerged and stabbed with a frilled toothpick. The taste is of genuine lychee, though slightly sweet, as if some of the syrup from the canned fruit got dribbled in.

[75 Winthrop St., Harvard Sq., Cambridge. 617.491.4552. tamarind-bay.com]


“It’s the closest thing to lychee juice,” the bartender assures me. I inspect the white carton of purée de litchi she proffers and promptly dive into the Lychee Martini ($11), an elixir of Ketel One and that fancy French lychee purée. Awaiting me is nothing short of the unadulterated, pure lychee flavor of my dreams. It tastes delicately sweet and light, with the fruit’s essence as clear as pie. Even though I’m flanked by a trio of boisterous guys steamrolling their way through a scorpion bowl and a platter of spring rolls, I’m in halcyon sippage mode, blissfully grazing on the bar’s spicy wasabi peas. The low lights and milky appearance of the drink made the plump lychee fruit at the bottom of the glass (cue nose thunk) that much more of a lovely surprise.

[1415 Washington St., South End, Boston. 617.262.0005. phorepublique.net]