With summer's arrival and the characteristic heat and humidity it brings along with it, my beverage choices make a pretty drastic transition... sauvignon blanc over cabernet, lighter fruit flavors in lieu of warmer, spicier ones and vodka and gin instead of whiskey based cocktails. I wanted to share a recipe for a my personal favorite summer cocktail that really celebrates seasonal, fresh-from-the-garden flavors. To begin, you'll need to start about a week in advance of actually assembling and enjoying your beverage.
First, take ten ripe grape tomatoes and slit each one gently with the tip of a paring knife. Place in a mason jar and cover with a premium vodka [I prefer Ketel One, however you can use whichever brand you happen to prefer]. Place the jar on a window and allow it to steep for a week.
[insert time lapse of one week]
Now that all the components of your cocktail have been prepared, it's time to assemble your drink. Ideally I prefer to use "perfect" ice cubes (made with double boiled, distilled water to prevent air bubbles and give you a clearer cube) - start with 2-3 in a low ball glass.
In a Boston cocktail shaker, muddle three slices of peel cucumber, one lime wedge and one sprig of torn basil leaves. Don't glaze over this step if you really want to imbibe your cocktail with flavor. You want to make sure your extracting all of the liquids from the cucumber and the oils from the lime zest. Once muddled, add 1.5 oz of Hendricks Gin, .5 oz of the tomato infused vodka and .5 oz of Thatchers Organic Cucumber Liqueur. Add an additional 3-4 ice cubes and shake your cocktail vigorously for 30 seconds to create a creamy white froth. Pour into your low ball glass.
Finally, top it off with a high quality tonic. I'm a fan of Stirrings or Fentiman's, however you really need to try out a few to figure out which brings the notes you prefer. While Stirrings is a big more floral undertone, the Fentiman's is a bit more lemony.
Sip slowly through a straw and allow the fresh tastes of summer to overcome you!