This months challenge from Marx Foods is to make 2 drinks a Cocktail which would include alcohol and a Mocktail, well you know what that is, no booze. All of us that participate in this challenge were sent a box of goodies, spices and other items, one of which has to be used in each drink. I received, saffron, juniper berries, dill and fennel pollen, long pepper and dried fresh pineapple. We have to use at least one of these items in each drink. I do so love a challenge and this in particular was challenging for me as I am not an accomplished mixologist, honestly the extent of my expertise is opening a bottle of beer or wine. I do love a good cocktail or mocktail as long as someone else mixes it for me.
My first entry is a Bloody Mary, that I tweaked a bit, it’s not your traditional drink other than the fact that it contains tomato juice. For this drink I used two of the ingredients from Marx Foods, the long pepper and fennel pollen. I used the long pepper instead of black pepper and rimmed the glass with a combination of kosher salt and fennel pollen. It’s a bit spicy thanks to the long pepper and hot sauce, a bit tart from the lemon and I also added a pinch of sumac which is both peppery and citrusy. It’s best to make the tomato juice mix the day before serving so that everything melds together. I was happy with how it turned out, maybe I’ll start mixing more cocktails from now on.
The mocktail was a lot of fun to make. I wanted to use something seasonal, I had some beautiful methley plums, (they are so gorgeous with their dark almost black skin and bright red flesh), that were perfectly ripe and I thought that the juniper berries would go beautifully with them. I love the combination, the syrup with ripe plums, sugar and juniper berries is delicious, so good I am thinking it would make outstanding jam. This drink is very simple, plum juniper syrup, sparkling water and lime. The plums with the juniper berries give it a complex flavor and the lime gives it some zing, It’s pretty too!!
Makes one 8 oz drink
4 oz tomato juice or V-8 vegetable juice
1/4 tsp homemade celery salt
juice of 1/2 Lemon
splash worcestershire sauce
splash of hot sauce, tabasco, sriracha, cholula
pinch of sumac
pinch of ground long pepper
3 oz vodka
To Rim glass and Serve
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fennel pollen
small young celery stalk with leaves for garnish
slice lemon for garnish
Homemade celery salt
1 tbs celery seed
1 tbs kosher salt
To your spice grinder or mortar and pestle add the celery seed and the salt and grind. Store unused celery salt with your spices in an airtight container.
Pan roast a couple of long pepper, just for a few minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Grind in spice grinder or mortar and pestle (these can be used instead of black pepper and when you dry roast the flavor intensifies)
Crush kosher salt and fennel pollen using mortar and pestle.
Add tomato juice, lemon juice, celery salt, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, ground long pepper and sumac stir together and refrigerate for at least an hour or preferably overnight.
Rub around the rim of the glass with lemon and dip glass in salt fennel pollen mixture.
Add some ice cubes to prepared glass, pour in vodka, top off with the tomato juice mixture, garnish with celery and lemon if you like.
Plum Juniper Fizz
Plum Juniper Berry Fizz
Makes 2-4 drinks depending on how much syrup you use
2 1/2 cups ripe plums cleaned and quartered skin left on. (I used Methley plums that have a dark almost black skin and red flesh)
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole juniper berries
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lime (approx 1 tbs)
Place plums, sugar water and juniper berries in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit until it cools to room temperature.
Strain into a jar with lid and refrigerate until cold.
To Make Drink
Rub lime wedge around the rim of the glass, dip in sugar (optional) Pour 1/4 cup (4 tbs) plum syrup into glass add lime juice, top off with sparkling water.Serve garnished with lime.