Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry-Tarragon Gin Smash

It's strawberry season, y'all. We are so very excited. Steve, The Chubby Vegetarian farmer in residence, has one long 30-foot row of strawberries growing on the farm. We traveled out to Slayden, Mississippi to pick a bunch of the jewel-colored beauties on Saturday afternoon. After sharing a quart with a lady at the antique store, we still had about 4 quarts to take back home with us.

These strawberries were unlike the pale golfball-sized monsters you find in most supermarkets. These things were beautiful: small, dark red, and sweet. For the most part, we just dipped them in a little whipped cream and ate them whole, but we though we'd do something special with a handful of 'em.

One favorite drink is a mix of mint and strawberries called See You in September. This drink was created in that same spirit. Here, gin adds a nice botanical note while the tarragon adds something a little unexpected to this cocktail. The blood orange bitters were handmade by our good friend Michael, but feel free to substitute angostura bitters if you can't find blood orange. 

Strawberry-Tarragon Gin Smash

1 cup roughly chopped fresh strawberries
1 Meyer lemon (quartered)
1 3-inch sprig French tarragon
1 cup ice
2 drops blood orange bitters
3 ounces gin (like Bombay Sapphire or Hendricks)
1 1/2 ounces agave nectar

Place the strawberries, lemon, tarragon, ice, bitters, gin, and agave nectar into a large cocktail shaker. Muddle the mixture until the strawberries are broken down and most of the ice is cracked. Strain into 2 champagne or martini glasses. Garnish with a bit more tarragon and a strawberry.