Friday, September 13, 2013

Roasted Tomato Cocktails

Smokin' Hot Tomato Cocktail

Someone recently asked me what my favorite vegetable was, and I said it has to be the tomato. It's amazingly complex, versatile and around for only a short time (except for canned of course). That time is now.

It's possible, however improbable, that you may be suffering from tomato overload at the moment. You're capresed and pazanelled out! If that's that case, here's an interesting twist for fresh summer tomatoes: make cocktails with them. And I'm not talking about tomato juice, but a homemade roasted tomato simple syrup. Now that's a way to drink a tomato.

The syrup is pretty simple (no pun intended): roast the tomatoes for a long time just like you would for a recipe. Pulse a few times in a food processor then boil with sugar and water. Let it infuse a bit and then strain with a mesh sieve. The resulting syrup is sweet with a nice roasted tomato flavor. And don't even think of discarding the solids. It's almost like a tomato jam, and is great on toast.

First I paired the tomato syrup with margarita ingredients, although in keeping with the roasted theme I went with smoky mezcal and a little fiery habanero shrub for kick. Then I mixed it with some moonshine--a legal version, that is: Midnight Moon moonshine, made in North Carolina.

Smokin' Hot Tomato
(pictured at top)

1 oz. mezcal
1/2 oz. orange cognac liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
1 oz. roasted tomato simple syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 droppers of Bittermens hellfire habanero shrub
Lime wheel garnish (optional)

Combine mezcal, orange liqueur, tomato syrup, lime juice and habanero shrub in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a lowball glass with ice. Garnish with lime wheel.
Tomato at Night Cocktail
Tomato at Night

Tomato at Night

1 oz. Midnight Moon moonshine (may substitute vodka or gin)
1/2 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz roasted tomato simple syrup (see recipe below)
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes angostura bitters
2 oz. club soda
Lemon wheel garnish (optional)

Combine moonshine, Aperol, tomato syrup, lemon juice and bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a lowball glass with ice. Add club soda and stir to combine. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Roasted Tomato Simple Syrup

2 lb. ripe tomatoes, quartered
Olive oil, about 1-2 tbsp.
Pinch of salt
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vodka (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place tomatoes in a 9 X 13 baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half hour or so until the tomatoes are shriveled, lightly browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer tomatoes to a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times.

2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and allow to "steep" for 20 minutes. Strain out the solids with a fine mesh sieve (the solids are tasty, like tomato jam). Once cooled, store the syrup in the refrigerator. To prolong its life, add 1 tbsp. vodka.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very clever idea, and the drink was quite good. But the "tomato jam" that's left over after creating the syrup? Man oh man, that is some kind of good!