How about a participatory “Cocktail of the Day”?
This isn’t actually a cocktail, but an infused spirit. If you’ve been reading regularly you probably know I’m a big fan of infused spirits, and I’ve been doing quite a few of them lately. As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve got one going now that I’m more excited about than any of them so far.
I read about this one in Charles H. Baker, Jr.’s The Gentleman’s Companion or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask: Exotic Drinking. As soon as I saw it I thought it looked fantastic and immediately wanted to try it. Why don’t we all find out?
What I’d like to do is to encourage as many of you as possible — those of you into spirits and cocktails, at least — to try this along with me. It doesn’t require much work, and I think the rewards will be well worth the effort. I’ve got about a week’s head start on you so far, but no worries. I’ll taste it first and let you know what you can expect. I think this’ll be a perfect summer drink, so start this week and let me know how you like it when it’s done.
Tequila por mi Amante
Collected by Charles H. Baker, Jr., Mexico City, 1937
Three pints strawberries.
One 750ml bottle of your favorite reposado tequila.
Go to a local farmer’s market and buy the best, reddest and most flavorful strawberries that you can. They’re right at the peak of their season now. Avoid any strawberries that aren’t completely red, particularly those with white “shoulders”. Wash, hull and halve the strawberries, quartering the really big ones.
Place into a 2 liter/quart jar with a seal, and cover with a good quality reposado tequila. Any really good 100% agave tequila will do. (Do not use Cuervo Gold or any of that cheapo stuff.) I suppose a good silver one would work as well.
Allow the strawberries to steep in the tequila for at least two weeks. Every day, when you think about it, give the jar a gentle shake, turning it upside down a few times. After about 2 weeks strain the tequila through several layers of cheesecloth, squeezing all the liquid out of the strawberries. By this point the strawberries will be bleached, lifeless hulls. Toss them.
Funnel the gorgeous rose-red infused tequila into a bottle (the same one it came in will work), seal and allow to age for at least three weeks. At the end of the aging period, you can filter it again if there’s any sediment at the bottom, or else just pour off the clear spirit and leave the sediment behind.
To serve, pour 3 ounces of the tequila per drink into shaker with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve up with a lime wedge, which you may optionally squeeze into the drink.
I’m trying to imagine what this is going to taste like, and so far the imagination is saying it’ll taste great. Besides drinking it alone and up, I’m thinking it might also make a great un-frozen strawberry margarita (I don’t care much for frozen drinks). Three parts of this, two parts Cointreau, one part lime juice, shaken and up or on the rocks.
Try it yourself, and do please let me know what you think.
UPDATE: I don’t have to imagine what this is going to taste like anymore. Now I know. It’s one of the best things ever.