Ok, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I was a bit hesitant to give this one a try because the thought of using balsamic vinegar in a cocktail sounded a bit weird to me and I like weird cocktails. But then I remembered just how much I love those Olive Oil Muffins I make and they have balsamic in them so I figured I should give it a try. And boy am I glad I did – I absolutely love this drink! It is refreshing but deep in flavor and not overly sweet. I used a very spicy ginger ale so that probably helped cut the sweetness a bit.
Bufala Negra (from Food & Wine)
4 basil leaves
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 1/2 ounces ginger ale (I like Q Drinks the best and I find it at Whole Foods)
In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 of the basil leaves with the vinegar and Simple Syrup. Add ice and the bourbon and shake well. Strain the drink into an ice-filled rocks glass, stir in the ginger ale and garnish with the remaining basil leaf.
Strawberry season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier about that – they are by far my favorite fruit. I’ve been buying them in bulk lately so finding new ways to use up all of those berries before they go bad is my new mission in life. And, this recipe for wine soaked strawberries is the easiest way to make use of a few pints while making one elegant and delicious dish. I served mine over some amazing vanilla gelato but they would be equally good with some marscapone cheese or fresh whipped cream. However you choose to serve these berries, I promise they won’t disappoint!
Wine Soaked Strawberries with Basil (by A Feteful Life)
1.5 cups of red wine (I used a Cabernet but a fruity Zinfandel or Merlot would be great as well)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest from one lemon
5 large basil leaves
In a large bowl add the sugar and one large basil leaf. Slightly muddle to release some of the basil’s flavor. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and wine. Slowly whisk to combine. Add the strawberries to the wine mixture and let the them soak at room temperature for 30-60 minutes and then transfer to the refrigerator for about an hour. Don’t let the strawberries soak for more than 2-3 hours or they will start to become too mushy. Before serving, garnish the berries with chiffonaded basil and some of the remaining lemon zest.
As soon as I saw this Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic from A Cozy Kitchen, I knew I had to try it out for my next cocktail hour. It takes a bit of work, but it was totally worth it. And with strawberry season just rounding the corner, I expect a lot of these in my house in the near future (although I’m theoretically back on to a clean eating kick, so I might have to play around with substituting something for the sugar — thoughts?!).
Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic (A Cozy Kitchen)
– 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
– Scant 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
– Pinch of sea salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– Handful of fresh basil
– 4-6 ounces of your favorite gin
1. In a medium bowl, add the strawberries, along with the sugar, pinch of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Allow the strawberries to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. In a blender, add the strawberries and all their juices. Pulse until the mixture resembles a puree. Give it a taste and adjust the sugar accordingly. Run the mixture through a sieve, discarding the seeds and pulp. You should end up with a scant 1/2 cup.
2. To assemble the cocktail, divide the basil leaves between glasses. Muddle the basil leaves, being sure to press the stems, with a muddler. Fill all the glasses with ice cubes. Pour in 1 to 2 ounces of gin, 2 to 3 tablespoons of strawberry mixture and top with tonic. Give the mixture a good stir and garnish with basil flowers and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.
Apparently I’m on a bit of a pink cocktail kick with the Elegant Spice a few weeks ago, the cocktail inspiration with the cherry blossom party and now this pretty little one! It must be all that dreaming of spring. And, you know it must be spring when you start to see rhubarb pop up at the grocery store and farmers markets. Yay!
Rhubarb Basil Cocktail (from theKitchn)
3 medium basil leaves
3 tablespoons rhubarb puree (recipe to follow)
1.5 ounces vodka
Put the basil in the bottom of a glass and press with the back of a spoon to bruise slightly. Add the rhubarb purée and stir. Add vodka and ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with a basil leaf.
Rhubarb Puree (from theKitchn)
12-13 stalks of rhubarb
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Chop the rhubarb into small, 1/2-inch pieces. Put in a medium saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the rhubarb through the strainer, pressing to get as much of the rhubarb out as possible. Discard the leftover fibrous bits.
Use rhubarb purée in this cocktail or pour over ice cream. Yum!