Given my present state of non-employment I, like many friends who are in a similar situation, have found myself with a lot of free time to fill up. One of the bonuses of the extra time has been the ability to focus on gardening—we were finally able to build a garden early this year and it has been a major project for me. When I’m not working on the blog or cooking, I can be found working in the garden. In the works are a drip irrigation system, a couple of hoophouses, a cold frame and a few other projects that will be underway this winter.
September is prime tomato season, which is presently evidenced by the pounds of tomatoes coming out of the garden every day. Most of them are bound for canning as tomato sauce, but cherry tomatoes are sort of a problem. Their size makes them exceptionally tedious to skin and thusly, hard to preserve. (Tomato skins aren’t terribly pleasant once they’ve been cooked, and so require blanching and peeling.) My two Sun Gold cherry tomato plants have been exceptionally prolific since June, turning out hundreds of their little orange fruits. At this point I’m surprised we haven’t turned orange from all the cherry tomatoes we’ve eaten, and yet we’re still getting a basket of cherry tomatoes per week. Left with a surplus of the wee things, when I struck upon this recipe in The Art of the Bar it seemed an interesting way to use some up.
3-4 Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, halved
10-12 leaves cilantro
⅛ tsp kosher salt
1½ oz blanco tequila
¼ oz Cointreau
¼ oz lime juice
1 slice habañero chile, optional
Muddle the tomato halves, cilantro and salt into a paste in a mixing tin. Add tequila, Cointreau, lime and ice and shake well. Double strain into a double old-fashioned glass rimmed with salt and filled with ice. Garnish with two cherry tomatoes.
First off, allow me to state for the record that I did not use Sweet 100 tomatoes. I only planted Sun Golds this year and, though they are sweet, the Sweet 100s are known for their exceptional sweetness. This is, perhaps, why I found the tomato flavor in this cocktail to be lacking and, frankly, off-putting. While I enjoy fresh tomatoes on their own, the combination of the tomato and Cointreau was not my favorite. Once a little bit of water got in from the ice the flavor rounded out a bit, but it wasn’t quite enough to save it. I left out the habañero slice, but in retrospect it seems that it may have been the flavor to bridge the tomato and citrus combination successfully. I’d suggest leaving it in for anyone trying this one at home.