Electric Pink Fields

Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWhen I was young and trying to be fancy on the weekend, I’d order a Kir Royale at brunch. At 21, even brunch seemed like a novel idea at the time. Drinking at breakfast? Other than seeing my father mix himself a Bloody Mary while frying up some eggs on a Sunday, drinking before 3pm was unheard of growing up. Now, occasionally the odd Kir Royal pops up, usually it is at my in-laws and we’re doctoring up a bottle of champagne someone has given them as a gift. A bottle of champagne that clearly has been re-gifted because the original recipient also knew it was crap. An ancient bottle of Creme de Cassis sits at the back of their fridge just for these occasions. So why did I pick up a bottle recently? It was on my ‘to get’ list. I’d seen it listed in a particularly tasty cocktail someplace and I was reminded it would be a great ingredient in drinks other than the sweet covering up some bad bubbly.

My husband was on a liquor run for himself and had called to ask me if I needed anything, knowing probably there was something I wanted. I told him Creme de Cassis and without missing a beat he said Ok, he’d go look for some. When he was back he proudly showed me a handsome bottle acknowledging that he bought it because it’s price point suggested it was good stuff. “And look at the label!” he said, totally fancy pants.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

I think this happened close to 4 months ago. To which, at least every few weeks, he turns to me asks when I’m going to make something with it.

A serious of unfortunate incidents led me to finally cracking it open the other night. First, my cantaloupe I was going to use had gone bad. Then my cherry syrup shattered. I found myself staring down at a bunch of bottles and just huffing to myself. And then I saw the Creme de Cassis and shrugged. I could use this; it’s fruity. I would sub this in for simple syrup.

The liqueur ended up being a very happy incident. So, working on a daiquiri variation, the first pass was too sharply tart. Bringing the lime juice down to 3/4 ounces on the next pass then rendered it not tart enough. It also felt it was lacking a missing flavor. Tarragon! I know that for some of you, this herb is scary, and completely useless in your kitchen. But really you need to give this herb some love, so, put it in a cocktail at least.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Adding tarragon not only gave it a lovely aroma, it toned the tartness down just enough so that it found balance.

2 oz. Oronoco white rum
1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. G.E. Massenez Creme de Cassis
8 tarragon leaves

In the bottom of your shaker, add the tarragon leaves and lime juice. Lightly crush with a muddler. Add ice 2/3 up the shaker. Pour in rum and creme de cassis. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Magenta in color with flecks of tarragon throughout. The nose is berry and tarragon, or rather a subtle licorice smell if you’re unfamiliar with this herb. The cocktail itself is tart and sweet. More berry on the palate with a grassy aftertaste. Dry in the mouth but flavor profile is refreshing.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Le Tiki-Vert/ What to do all that Basil Liquor

So this is my tarragon plant.
But I’m sure all the other herb plants think of it as a blood thirsty killer. That pot used to house a dill plant. But the Tarragon killed it dead. This plant is growing at a rate I’ve never seen any of my plants succeed at doing and now I’m stuck with a lot of an herb I only use a tiny bit of. My natural inclination was to see how I could fit it into a drink.

I’ve mentioned on here that I have a couple of bottles of Shrubs I’ve been experimenting with for work cocktails. This drink was born out of the remnants of a chicken salad. Sorta. I saw my husband mixing up tarragon and lemon juice into his classic sandwich mix and I thought, Hey- I should stick those herbs in the lemon shrub and see what happens. It ended up being a pretty nice combination and I’m glad I risked possible salmonella to try it (I may or may not have grabbed some leftover tarragon leaves for the first version of this that were mingling with leftover chicken on a cutting board. Don’t judge.).

One thing I learned about this is that you can go heavy with the tarragon. It works here and you want the taste. Too little leaves and the flavor is just not present enough and lacks that nice grassy-ness. The only problem I ran into with this drink was trying to name it. Is it really necessary to name your drink? I read some blogs where ‘names’ are just a modified list of ingredients. Other times people go in crazy directions and name their drink a long string of words that are really meaningless to the drink. I guess it doesn’t matter; I’m guilty of doing both. Except that this is on a short list for the work drink, so I did have to spend some time back and forth thinking of a name. Le Tiki-Vert just came out of the color and the Tiki-tasting quality of the drink. It could change, but for now I’m keeping it.

2 tbsp tarragon leaves
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1-1/2 oz white rum (Oronoco here)
1/2 oz lemon shrub (Tait Family Farms)
1 oz grapefruit juice

Muddle leaves and lime juice together in a mixing glass. Add ice and the rest of the ingredients. Cover with metal shaker and shake well to combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Bits of tarragon will be floating about.

The drink has a mellow, bitter fruit flavor that borders on the tropical side. Herbaceous notes from the tarragon sit on the back of your tongue, becoming stronger as the drink sits.

I made 3 of these and had a pleasant afternoon.

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One other project that I didn’t feel warranted an entire blog post but worth mentioning was my discovery that you can make sorbet with liquor. Maybe all sorbet is made like this, who knows! I’ve only made this one recipe.

Anyways, last week my husband and I trekked out to a local farmer’s market (we recently, sadly, discontinued our CSA baskets for the main reason that we wanted to go and be active in our community and support local farms and have a bit more say in what we’re getting from where. So far we’re doing it every week. Or I am going during the week on my lunch.) and we picked up 3 pints of strawberries with me proclaiming all kinds of recipe ideas I was going to make with them. With only one drink under my belt and 2-3/4 pints left, I decided to look up a recipe where I could use a lot of them in one go. Browsing a favorite food blog, Sassy Radish (who, if I can wax poetic for a sec, is really a great, unpretentious, awesome food blog that anything I make from there always comes out perfect. And on the subject of food, I really should add a food blog section under the blogs I am reading. I’ll just make a mental note to do that), I came across this recipe for her Strawberry Basil Sorbet. Ah, also I forgot to mention I had harvested the last of my basil plant and needed to use that up STAT too. So I noticed that she had added a bit of vodka to her recipe in order to keep it smooth. Fireworks went off in my head when I remembered I didn’t have vodka, but I sure had some Basil Liquor made with Everclear in the freezer. I could totally sub that out and make this a super basil sorbet.

Anyways, so tweaking her recipe I used 2 tablespoons of the basil liquor and using the ice cream bowl attachment for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, whipped that up and had some sorbet. The basil is definitely there, but not as strong as I was expecting. Since I haven’t tested it against a recipe NOT made with the basil liquor, I have no idea how pronounced it really should be. But there you go. Basil liquor for ice cream treats. You’re welcome.

One last note. Cumin in savory cocktails. I was out two weeks ago at a bar in downtown L.A. and had one and my mind has been blown. I need to get on this bandwagon. So, hopefully I can make something drinkable with cumin. If not, you’ll hear about it either way.