Heavens above, where does the time go? It seems like it’s only been a few days since I last posted but instead it’s been two weeks. Weeks. I’ve finally managed to eke out these few scant minutes away from work to come back and talk about a few things. First, there is a drink. (Isn’t there always a drink?) Second, there is a new blog. Third, there is…well, it’s kind of tied to number two, but there’s Tales of the Cocktail.
I’ll start with Tales news so that it doesn’t get lost when your mind blanks out in joy at the words “fresh strawberries.” (Whoops, guess I let the cat out of the bag.) Tales of the Cocktail is returning for a fifth fantastic year July 16-20 and I am finally going. Myself and some other like-minded people you might recognize are going to be blogging up to and during the
drunken revelry event this year at talesblog.com. Oh, and did I mention that my birthday coincides with the last day? As if Tales itself weren’t reason enough to celebrate…
So now that I’ve wormed out of the shackles at my desk and talked about Tales, on with the cocktail. Though Southern California has many negatives, one of its major positive qualities is the produce. We get fresh produce year-round because of our exceptionally mild climate, which also brings us strawberries in March. I’ve been exercising Herculean restraint by not buying and eating a flat per day—a feat which also led me to consider ways I could consume the berries besides just shoving them in my mouth like a two year-old.
Naturally, this led me to drink. (Much like a two year-old, my reasoning ability is very straightforward.)
I found the recipe for the Fresa-Fresa in Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, Revised. A simple concoction of tequila, fresh strawberries and sugar, it sounded lovely but I just couldn’t resist tinkering with it—not that strawberries need much embellishment, but they play so nicely with others. I rooted around in the fridge and settled on the spice syrup that I concocted for the Tiki Puka Puka as my secret weapon. Some girls have the Miracle Bra, I have simple syrup with allspice and cinnamon. How’s that for priorities?
2 oz reposado tequila
6 fresh strawberries, medium-sized, hulled
1 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsps spice syrup*
Blend all ingredients together with ice (one scoop shaved or five regular cubes). Pour into a chilled cocktail glass or champagne saucer.
*Using a hammer or other blunt object, break up 3 sticks of cinnamon, 2 whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds and 2 generous tablespoons allspice berries. Add the broken up (but not completely pulverized) spices to 3 cups of water in a small saucepan. Boil vigorously until reduced by half, then strain out the spices. Return the spiced water to the pan and add 1½ cups of sugar. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Cool before using.
I’m not going to say that this drink will change your life or some other hyperbolic nonsense, but it is delicious. Strawberries and tequila go together like strawberries and chocolate, and the sweet spiciness of the syrup works well with the natural bite of tequila. I really like the agave nectar here because it’s not tooth-achingly sweet (as sugar can be if you add too much) and allows you a little bit more license with the syrup if you want to get nuts with the spices.