Spiced and Spiked Strawberry Tea

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Sipping amusing cocktails in the summertime heat is a quintessential pastime. As we count down the hours to quitting time on Friday, text messages wander into the realm of dinner and cocktail destinations. Our plans are best summed up as, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Cocktail-destination ambition usually ends up on our front porch. As Halloween and Christmas lights of yore still surround us in an unapologetic glow, we are obliged by habit. At peace with our own predisposition, we finally learned to succumb to buying cocktail ingredients for clinking our glasses at home. Just in case, because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Thinking back to highschool, I’m sure you can recall at least one, two, or ten lessons learned from science classes. Osmosis and diffusion ring any bells? In a nutshell, osmosis is the movement of a solvent across a semi-permeable membrane from an area of lower solute concentration to an area of higher solute concentration. In this drink recipe, we rely upon osmosis during a process known as maceration. Strawberries are mixed with sugar, and when left to macerate, water leaves the strawberries and moves to the high sugar concentrate area. Essentially, the juices are cold extracted, resulting in a liquid with remarkable flavor. No quizzes will be given.

A couple weekends ago, when it was a balmy 95 degrees at 9:00 p.m., we had strawberries and basil on hand for cocktails. Wanting to take a break from fruit syrup, we decided to macerate the berries instead. We combined the macerate with some vodka Warren had infused with basil, added some club soda, and thought we had ourselves a fine drink. We did have a fine drink, but we wanted some oomph. Luckily, our minds went back to the spiced fruit salad we made for the Fourth of July. A white pepper and garam masala simple syrup married beautifully with the rest of the drink components. For this drink, we used an ice mold and a rocks glass but feel free to use what you have available. Either way,Warren says, “it will elegantly wet one’s whistle”.

Print Recipe
Spiced and Spiked Strawberry Tea
A refreshing summertime sipper.
Course Cocktail
Prep Time 2 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Minutes
Passive Time 24 Hours
Servings
Drink
Ingredients
The Drink
Strawberry Macerate (makes 6 ounces)
Spiced Simple Syrup (makes 12 ounces)
Basil Infused Vodka (makes 8 ounces)
Course Cocktail
Prep Time 2 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Minutes
Passive Time 24 Hours
Servings
Drink
Ingredients
The Drink
Strawberry Macerate (makes 6 ounces)
Spiced Simple Syrup (makes 12 ounces)
Basil Infused Vodka (makes 8 ounces)
Instructions
The Drink
  1. To a cocktail shaker, add macerate, simple syrup, vodka, sparkling water, and lemon juice. Fill with ice, and stir until combined and well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
Strawberry Macerate
  1. In a glass jar or bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Remove mixture from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Over a clean jar or bowl, strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve, pressing strawberries to expel macerate. Set aside or refrigerate.
Spiced Simple Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes. Over a clean jar fitted with a lid, strain simple syrup through a fine mesh sieve, discarding mint. Set aside or refrigerate.
Basil Infused Vodka
  1. In a jar fitted with a lid, combine vodka and basil. Refrigerate, and allow to infuse for at least 24 hours. Over a jar, strain vodka through a fine mesh sieve or cocktail shaker, discarding basil leaves. Set aside or refrigerate.
Recipe Notes

*If using a larger drinking vessel, more club soda may be used to top off glass.
*Store unused macerate and simple syrup in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

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