Since I managed to completely flake on last month’s Mixology Monday, I’m posting a drink that was posted by Jeffrey for the Variations event. I know, I know—another Jeff Morgenthaler post?!?! Don’t I read any other cocktail blogs?
The answer is, of course, yes. If you could see my daily cocktail RSS feeds you would probably goggle a bit. I stopped counting at fifty, so I couldn’t even give you an accurate count of how many blogs I read on any given day. Be that as it may, it is nevertheless a coincidence that I made the Flor de Baya so soon after the Richmond Gimlet. Jeff just happened to post the recipe right after I found both a bag of fresh cranberries in my freezer and a bottle of Sauza lurking in the back of my bar. I chose to take that convergence as a sign…but then again, it doesn’t take much to encourage me to take up the shaker. Or the beaker, as the case may be when making a gastrique.
2 oz Sauza Hornitos tequila
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
2 barspoons cranberry gastrique (recipe follows)
Boil 1½ cups white vinegar with 1½ cups sugar, 10 oz fresh cranberries, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 star anise and 4 cloves for 20 minutes, using a wooden spoon to help break up cranberries. Strain mixture through cheesecloth, bottle and refrigerate.
Shake ingredients over cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime.
To be honest, while I was expecting this drink to be high quality, because its genesis was the tequila Cosmo I didn’t have high hopes for it. Fortunately, in the way of many things in my life, in that assumption I was wrong. The body and flavor that are imparted by the gastrique really take this somewhere special. The tartness of the vinegar-cranberry mixture coordinates with the peppery nature of the tequila—quite the opposite of, for example, Cointreau in a margarita—and the sugar mellows out those edges to keep it from being harsh. All in all, it’s a lovely drink that doesn’t hide the natural characteristics of the tequila but harmonizes them instead. I see many of these to come in the summer months.