I couldn’t help it. This week’s recipe, from a 2010 issue of Edible Blue Ridge, called for heirloom tomatoes. Who can resist a cocktail made from heirloom tomatoes? Not I! And I just happen to have nice big juicy varieties waiting to be plucked from my garden.
To make, combine 4 chopped room temperature heirloom tomatoes and scant 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a bowl, making sure all the juice from the tomatoes stay in the bowl. Transfer the salty tomatoes to a piece of cheesecloth. Gather the cheesecloth loaded with tomatoes into a handy bag and tie it to a sink faucet, allowing the tomato juices to dribble into a bowl right beneath it. This can take more than an hour. You may even need to squeeze the bag a few times to help the juices along.
Anyway, once the tomatoes are devoid of their juices, portion out 1/2 cup of the fresh tomato juice and add it to a shaker loaded with ice. Add to the shaker 1/4 cup pepper-infused vodka, 1 basil leaf and a nice squeeze of lemon. Shake it vigorously and strain into a martini glass.
If you crave more spice, garnish with a slice of jalapeno, as I did. And by all means, don’t let those drained tomato chunks go to waste. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and serve with fresh mozzarella over crusty bread. You should have enough drained tomato juice for at least three more drinks.
I look forward to another one this evening.
See previous summer cocktail recipes: