This weeks Sunday Cocktail was inspired by a garnish. I've been contemplating how to elevate my garnish and came across a series of tutorials on YouTube. My favorite was how to turn a strawberry into a rose. You can find the tutorial at the link below:
The strawberry rose was so gorgeous it took awhile to find a drink that lived up to it. I thought of making a Strawberry Bellini but wanted to something more creative.
There's something about strawberries that makes me want basil. I'm sure there's a scientific reason why, but all I know is that I find the two flavors together quite refreshing, almost calming. Once I had the idea of combining the flavors of strawberry and basil, I felt a little like I was building a salad rather than a cocktail. Personally I love pepper on my salad. I like a little kick. So why not add pepper to my cocktail.
This was my first attempt at making Basil Pepper Syrup. I like the subtlety of the of the pepper. Its almost like you're not sure you're tasting what your tasting. And then you ask yourself 'why does this taste good?'. Finally you resign yourself to accepting that the sweetness, the basil, and the spice all work together. Now to add the strawberry.
Enter, the juicer.
I was into juicing for a while. I'm always looking for new ways to try to lose weight and thought juicing would be a great quick way to do it. And it worked but I missed my cocktails. Now I use my juicer to make juices for drinks. So, I guess it was worth the few hundred I dropped on it.
I have my fresh strawberry juice and syrup. Let's create a drink.
2 oz. Strawberry Juice
1.5 oz Vodka
.75 oz Basil Pepper Syrup
.5 oz Lemon Juice
BASIL PEPPER SYRUP
2.5 cups Water
2 cups Sugar
1 bunch fresh Basil (about 2 handfuls)
2 tbs. Black Cracked Pepper
Boil water with basil for 15 minutes. Water should be darker. Kind of like a basil tea. Strain. Bring the water back to a slow boil. Slowly add sugar while stirring. Add pepper. Cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Allow to completely cook before use or storing.
I'll be completely honest. It's a bit of a girlish drink. I can definitely see serving this at girls night. But I love how the basil and pepper complements the strawberry. The pepper gives it an unexpected element that makes you want to keep drinking.
I named the drink after one of my favorite country songs, Strawberry Wine. The singer is 17 in the song. Thus the name Strawberry 17. Plus I feel like that's how many strawberries I went through trying to make the perfect rose.
I think I created a delightful cocktail for a beautiful garnish.