By Tricia Alley, So Cal Director of Mixology for Southern Wine and Spirits
That lovely lady Summer is still gracing us with her presence and so I’d like to enjoy the fruits of her labor while they last. Now, I recently wrote about a cocktail that featured strawberries but since we have just few weeks left of the season I couldn’t resist featuring them once more. As health conscious folk, we know that eating fruits and vegetables in season is best because that is when they yield the most nutrients. Additionally, when fruits and vegetables are purchased out of season they likely were grown in manipulated circumstances such as artificial light and chemical treatment. That equals bad for the body and bad for the environment. But I digress. Strawberries are (again) my inspiration for this healthy cocktail as is another ingredient that may surprise some: Balsamic Vinegar.
You may have enjoyed a delicious salad featuring dark greens, strawberries and a balsamic vinegar dressing. Well, this cocktail is reminiscent of that healthy dish. On more than one occasion I have been accused of putting together a cocktail in similar manner to which I put together a salad. And to that accusation I answer, “Guilty!” Here is our salad in a glass:
1.5 oz Atlantico Reserva Rum
2 Balsamic Pickled Strawberries*
.5 oz Boissiere Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
.5 oz Turbinado Syrup**
.75 oz Club Soda
Method: Muddle pickled strawberries in mixing tin. Add other ingredients accept soda and ice. Shake, strain over ice into a long glass and top with Club Soda. Garnish with one large half of a balsamic pickled strawberry.
Let me explain how this cocktail maps like a popular salad recipe. Atlantico Rum is a wonderfully crafted spirit which boasts 30% sugar cane distillate and 70% molasses. Rum that is made of sugar cane, also called rhum agricole, exhibits herbal and vegetal notes. We even refer to the taste of sugar cane distillates as tasting “green”. You know, like salad greens. The delicate blending of these two rum styles affords a complex and exciting palate that bartenders cherish as a cocktail base.
Did you know how healthy balsamic vinegar is? I knew that if I use more of it and less oil on my salad I’m lowering the fat intake. However upon further research I discovered that balsamic vinegar also works to suppress appetite and that it is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and antioxidants that work to repair damage caused by free radicals. As informed healthy individuals who enjoy cocktails, we know that free radicals are the buggers left behind when alcohol has been consumed. Armed with our Corazón Negro cocktail, we say “En Garde!” to free radicals!
*Balsamic Pickled Strawberries: Prepare pickling brine by heating one cup of quality balsamic vinegar to dissolve one tablespoon of turbinado sugar. Avoid bringing to boil. Let the solution cool before adding strawberries cut in half. The added sugar will balance the acid and enhance the wood characteristics of the balsamic vinegar. Let strawberries pickle for at least two hours. Allowing a longer pickling period is fine too. I like to use the pickling brine for salad dressing or marinade.
**Turbinado Syrup: Heat one part by volume of water and one part by volume turbinado sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Avoid bringing to boil. Let syrup cool before using. Turbinado sugar can be found in most supermarkets. A popular brand name is Sugar in the Raw. You can enjoy your turbinado syrup in tea and coffee too!
Legal Stuff: Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid : ). For more info, check out our site: www.drinkwel.com.