Tis the season of gingerbread and peppermint flavored cocktails. UGH! How many gingerbread men must give their innocent lives for the making of a cocktail that is typically so syrupy sweet it might as well be served in a mason jar complete with a spoon for scooping out every last precious drop of stickiness?
Thankfully, I only had to relive one technicolored peppermint schnapps hangover to very quickly realize that peppermint flavored cocktails should only be for show.
This year, I have decided to make a tequila cocktail the holiday beverage of choice. Why tequila, you ask? Why not tequila? As I’ve said before, tequila isn’t just for frat boys, margarita recipes and shooters. Depending on whether you use an añejo, reposado or silver tequila will determine the overall flavor profile for your drink. You didn’t realize there were different types of tequila? Here’s a very brief explanation of just these three popular tequila categories:
Añejo – This is aged tequila which tends to have a more mellow flavor. It’s been aged a minimum of 1 year, but less than 3, in small oak barrels.
Reposado – Aged a minimum of 2 months, but less than a year in oak barrels.
Silver or Plata – Aged less than 2 month or not aged at all.
I actually got the inspiration for this drink from a bartender named Raul Yrastorza. He was talking about his favorite tequila drink recipe containing balsamic vinegar, basil, strawberries and this spice laden simple syrup. I know, it sounds more like a salad than a cocktail. But after giving it some thought I decided to try making my own version. I’m really glad that I did. This is NOT your typical tequila cocktail.
I used a silver tequila in this recipe because I wanted the earthy/spicy flavors to come from the simple syrup and not from the tequila. In fact, I used some the Camerena tequila I had left over from my party. The strawberry adds a burst of flavor to cut through some of the musky spices, not to mention a strikingly red color to the cocktail. The flecks of green basil add to the holiday color palate but also add a little surprise flavor in there that works surprisingly well with the the other spices.
We’re still not equal.
Recipe: Christmas Tequila Cocktail
- 4 Strawberries (3 hulled one with hull for garnish)
- 2 Ounces Silver Tequila
- 3/4 Ounce Spiced Agave Simple Syrup (recipe below)
- 2 Medium Basil Leaves Chiffonade (divided in half)
Spiced Agave Simple Syrup
- 1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/4 Teaspoon Coriander (coarsely crushed)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds (coarsely crushed)
- 3 Cardamom Pods (lightly crushed)
For Spiced Agave Simple Syrup
- Add all ingredients to small saucepan and heat over medium high heat.
- Stir and bring to a boil (the mixture should climb up the sides of the pan slightly).
- Remove from heat, stir and let cool to room temperature before using.
- This can be stored, for up to a week, covered and refrigerated.
For the Cocktail
- Muddle the 3 hulled strawberries in the glass.
- In a cocktail shaker add ice cubes, tequila, agave syrup and half of the basil.
- Cover and shake vigorously.
- Strain into glass with muddled strawberries.
- Add the remaining basil to the cocktail and garnish with a strawberry.
- You can add a few ice cubes to this cocktail and give a quick stir to mix up the basil leaves.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
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