Just when I thought I had a handle on all the essential cocktail herbs to grow, I discovered a new one – tarragon.
I have eaten plenty of dishes with tarragon, but still had no sense of its individual flavor. While browsing through our farmer’s market, picking up plump cherries and vibrant sunflowers, I noticed a bunch of tarragon and remembered that it is supposed to pair well with strawberries, also in my bag. Time for cocktail making!
To muddle or infuse? Not knowing how long my tarragon bunch would last, I opted to infuse a syrup (recipe below) and save the muddling for my incredibly delicious, juicy strawberries. My new Gun Club gin from local Sun Liquor rounded out the flavors for this blissful cocktail inspiration:
Strawberry-Tarragon Summer Bliss1 ½ oz gin ½ oz tarragon syrup ½ oz fresh lemon juice 3 juicy strawberries Splash of club soda Sprig of tarragon to garnish (optional)
Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and syrup. Add gin and ice and shake well to chill. Double strain into an ice-filled tumbler and garnish with sprig. Note: my strawberries were quite naturally sweet and flavorful, but you may need to add another strawberry or an extra bit of plain simple syrup if yours are not.
Tarragon Syrup1/4 c. chopped tarragon leaves 1 c. sugar 1 c. water
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add tarragon and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, then cool and strain leaves before bottling.
The tarragon, I discovered, has a soft anise/licorice flavor. It does indeed pair well with strawberries and gives a bump of subtle flavor at the end of a sip. Tarragon surprisingly doesn’t appear in many cocktails. It’s time to change that, at least in my glass.
As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.