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.

The Jungle Bird

I picked up a copy of Remixed by Beachbum Berry. I own, and have made many a drink from the Grog Log, but when shopping at Oceanic Arts for this year’s Tiki Party back in August I spotted and decided it’s worth having this too. Besides another cocktail book in there, I also just love browsing through all the photos and art.

Whenever I find myself with a half a jar of pineapple juice, or a nearly empty can of coconut cream, I consider it Tiki time in the house. Today it’s pineapple juice.

Coming out of the Intoxica! section, and because there’s Campari in it, I’m trying out and altering very slightly, the Jungle Bird.

3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup (I always make mine 1:1)
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1-1/2 oz dark Cruzan rum

Garnish:
lime wedge
pineapple chunk

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add garnish.

The original cocktail recipe calls from dark Jamaican rum. I substituted Cruzan Dark rum instead, honestly I am very green when it comes to rum and couldn’t tell you what the differences are. So for differences and Rum love, check out these blogs here and here. I also changed the garnish from an orchid, and a cocktail cherry, lemon, and orange wheel to the lime wedge and pineapple. Generally I like the garnish to either be a hint of what’s in the drink or to complement it somehow. Also, I didn’t have any orchids in my possession at the time. Tasty notes on this: the Campari mellows way out in here (I’d even consider upping it to 1 oz next time to try), while the fruit juices make it sweet and tangy. While the rum has to be playing a role here, it takes a back seat as far as flavor. One last note- don’t be generous with the ice. I used an unusually large (well, at least for me) rocks glass here and filled 2/3 with ice. Once that ice started to melt it began to wash the flavor out a bit. Don’t let that happen to you! Use less ice or tip that baby back quick!

Sleepy Pink Flamingo

Sometimes you need to make a drink quickly. You flip through a cocktail book until you land on something you’re pretty sure you have all the ingredients to. And then it turns out you don’t. A short while ago I was politely asked by my husband if he could pretty much have the upstairs to himself for a work phone conference. On a Sunday. Groan. I had been lingering over some books deciding on trying something out when I found myself in a panic and just grabbed the first cocktail book within reach. The Grog Log. Flipping through I stopped at the Cruzana. Perfect, there was just a hair shy of 2oz of grapefruit juice left from a defrosted bag from some Blanco Oro’s I’d squeezed awhile back. And surely there was a bit of Gold Rum left. I can see a bottle in the way back of the liquor cabinet.

For those of you who live with someone who puts empty bottles back instead of throwing them away… You can guess at my frustration level right about now. But since I was in hurry to grab ingredients and make a mad dash downstairs to mix this drink, I thought I could sub out some gin instead. I happen to like gin and grapefruit sometimes and thought maybe there’s a chance this would work.

2oz grapefruit juice (I used Blanco Oros which produce a bit more sweet juice than your run of the mill grapefruit)
3/4oz Fee Brother’s Maraschino Cherry Syrup (I’d do this to taste depending on your juice- this stuff is sweet)
2oz Broker’s Gin

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and build ingredients. Shake and pour all into a chilled collins glass. (the chilling may not be necessary but it’s a hot one out today and this just tastes better with a really cold glass)

Was this a success with the gin? Well, a couple factors that I would change next time. First, since the grapefruit juice is sweet already, I’d down that syrup to 1/2 an ounce. As is it’s just a tad too sweet for me at 3/4oz in this drink. Second, perhaps this is a drink that could stand a strong base spirit as the gold rum. Something to consider for next time when we do a rum stock up. But overall this worked for me. Mainly sweet with a hint of tart- the gin mellows way out into the background with only subtle notes.