Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Going…going…tarra-GONE!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

 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!

This photo is not digitally enhanced: this drink was red, red, red!

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 Bliss 

1 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 Syrup

1/4 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.

Cheers, ICE

 As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.

 

 

Reunited And It Feels So Good

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Remember that song by Peaches & Herb (the duo’s name is even cocktail-friendly!): “Reunited and it feels so good…” That’s how I’m feeling about my summer cocktail recipes. Seeing the cherry stand at the side of the road, I couldn’t wait to revisit brandied cherries and the Cherry Blossom Sling recipe I made with them. These cherries are so good and so easy; I’m already certain that I should have made more. I re-posted the recipes below.

 

Aren't these gorgeous? The cherry stand proprietor suggested I try this Strawberry-Cherry variety, and I'm glad I did. They kept my mouth happy while my brandied bing cherries brewed.

 

 Lu’s Brandied Cherries (courtesy of Imbibe Magazine)

1 lb sweet cherries, pitted
½ c. sugar
½ c. water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. brandy (I used Metaxa Greek brandy but any should do)

Wash and pit the cherries (stain warning: gloves would be helpful). In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To showcase my cherries I chose the Cherry Blossom Sling, from my MixShakeStir cocktail book. The book also has a brandied cherries recipe, but I was missing several ingredients. Lu’s worked quite well, and the recipe allowed me to incorporate some of the yummy liquid into the drink.

Cherry Blossom Sling

3 brandied cherries, plus a splash of liquid
3 lime wedges
1 ½ oz gin
¼ oz Cherry Heering (a cherry liqueur)
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz fresh lime juice
Splash of soda water
Dash of Angostura bitters

Muddle the cherries and lime wedges in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and all ingredients except the soda water and bitters and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, add the soda water and bitters, and serve.

Cheers, ICE

 As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.

 

Summer Sippin’ With a Cherry on Top

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I am firmly in the camp of “market-fresh mixology,” so the call of cherry season was hard to resist, as were the local deals on Bing cherries.  Of course, eating all of them straight would have been a shame with all this booze in the house.

Instead, I attempted two separate recipes for boozy cherries: brandied cherries and maraschino cherries – the kind with real maraschino liqueur rather than the commercial ones made with artificial flavors, unnatural colors, high fructose corn syrup and perhaps cherries. One recipe was a real winner.

Lu's Brandied Cherries

First, I should mention that I am not enamored with the taste of my Luxardo maraschino liqueur. In fact, it is one of the few bottles that I’ve regretted purchasing. So I didn’t really expect to much like the maraschino cherries, but surprises do happen…just not this time.  This was disappointing because they keep for 3 months and would have helped keep my summer drink vibe going into fall.

So I will have to be content with my fleeting – but incredibly tasty – brandied cherries. I used this recipe from Imbibe Magazine with delicious results.

Lu’s Brandied Cherries

1 lb sweet cherries, pitted
½ c. sugar
½ c. water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. brandy (I used Metaxa Greek brandy but any should do)

Wash and pit the cherries (warning: my fingernails were stained for days so gloves would be helpful). In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To showcase my cherries I chose the Cherry Blossom Sling, from my MixShakeStir cocktail book. The book also has a brandied cherries recipe, but I was missing several ingredients. Lu’s worked quite well, and the recipe allowed me to incorporate some of the yummy liquid into the drink.

Cherry Blossom Sling

3 brandied cherries, plus a splash of liquid
3 lime wedges
1 ½ oz gin
¼ oz Cherry Heering (a cherry liqueur)
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz fresh lime juice
Splash of soda water
Dash of Angostura bitters

Muddle the cherries and lime wedges in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and all ingredients except the soda water and bitters and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, add the soda water and bitters, and serve.

Cheers, ICE

 

I Likey the Lychee

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Do you know what a lychee is? I sure didn’t. It shows up in cocktail recipes here and there, often listed as “canned lychee,” but my grocery stores had no such thing in the canned fruit/vegetable aisle. I had written those drinks off as too obscure for my feeble cocktailing efforts when I found a container of lychees in the refrigerated fruit section at Trader Joe’s. Well, hello! Not one to resist a new drink ingredient, of course I needed to try them out.

Which presented another problem: How does one prepare or eat a lychee? They have thin but crispy shells that do not appear appetizing.  Once peeled, the fruit looks like an eyeball (and here I made a tactical error by showing my kids this, thereby guaranteeing that no way in hell would they taste it); a juicy, lightly fragrant eyeball, but still. And hidden in the center is a hard nut that looks like a black bean.

Lychee Rum Swizzle

Eventually I decided to just muddle the fruit part and strain out the juice, a pretty easy task. I stirred up this recipe for the Lychee Rum Swizzle, and it made me a lychee lover.

Lychee Rum Swizzle

1 1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz lychee fruit juice (about 3 lychees)
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup (my addition)
2 dashes Peyschauds bitters

Peel lychee fruit, then tear juicy fruit away from inner nut. Muddle fruit (about 3 lychees) to yield 1/2 oz juice. Add all ingredients to a highball filled with crushed ice, then swizzle with a bar spoon until glass is frosty. Note: I changed the original recipe slightly because I had only fresh lychee fruit and not canned with syrup, so I added the simple syrup to balance the lime juice.

Swizzle drinks hail from Caribbean islands, where bartenders rub the handle of a bar spoon in between their hands – much like a scout starting a fire with sticks – in order to rapidly mix and chill the glass. Velvet Falernum, also hailing from the Caribbean, is a sweet liqueur tasting of cloves and spices. It is also great mixed with club soda and lime for a quick refresher, and non-alcoholic versions of falernum are available.

After doing a little lychee research, I’ve learned they are from China and therefore more common in Asian cooking.  Fresh lychees are not typical around here, so in the future I might have better luck finding canned lychee in the Asian section of the store. If you find some, try out this drink. It is well worth muddling a few eyeballs.

Cheers, ICE