Smoky, tart, salty and sweet…
All of these flavors are being brought to you today by yours truly in one deeeee-licious cocktail. You’re welcome. That’s right, these Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas combine four of the most distinctive tastes our palate can distinguish for a drink that will rock your world. I can promise you that.
I love this drink because it’s complex and intriguing, with many different components, yet they all come together rather effortlessly. It’s a recipe that took a bit of thought to compose, but once I had the basic idea in mind the rest came easily.
This is kind of how I’ve been trying to approach life this year. Thoughtfully, and with intention, slowing down a bit when I can and really taking everything in. With all of my travels at the end of last year, I found myself trying to just keep afloat, not spending quite as much time on my blog posts as I’d have liked, not taking the time to GROW the blog as a business as opposed to just putting words and recipes on paper.
We don’t have any big trips planned until April (when we’re headed to Italy with the fam!) so I’m relishing these next few months of (relative) peace and quiet to put together some quality content for you all, and to focus on continuing to grow the blog and my business in the directions I’ve dreamed of ever since starting this little thing oh so long ago.
What are you really to focus on in these first few months of the New Year?
You’ve heard what I’ll be focusing on, but right now let focus on these Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas and how we come across all of these layers of flavor in one icy glass of pure joy. I’m going to break it down for you:
This is the first and MOST important step in the margarita-making process. It’s also the only part that takes a little bit of time, so be sure to plan on making these in advance.
These pickled strawberries are actually the primary source of inspiration for this cocktail. I came across the simple pickling recipe when I was thumbing through my issue of Bon Appetit a while back. One of the recommended uses for the finished product was in a cocktail, among other things like in a salad, on a cheese board, etc. The cocktail option caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to try my own creative hand at a recipe.
The recipe I used for the pickled strawberries came straight from Bon Appetit, because I figured why mess with a basic, easy list of ingredients that were sure to pack a punch?
You may be put off by the whole process of pickling, but I can assure you that this is a “quick pickling” recipe and comes together in no time flat with minimal involvement (the only thing you have to look out for is the smell of vinegar consuming your entire house, so be sure to open some windows!)
We simply boil vinegar, water, sugar and salt on the stove until the sugar and salt are dissolved, and then pour the mixture over a bunch of hulled and halved strawberries in a mason jar. We then have to let the mixture cool for a bit, which will just take a few hours in the refrigerator.
After cooling, we puree the strawberries to use in our margaritas so we can be sure that tart, pickled flavor is mixed evenly throughout the cocktail without being too intense.
Now time to move on to the next important ingredient!
Yes, I had been dying to make a pickled fruit cocktail, but I had also been dying to make a cocktail with mezcal, even before it was named one of the top food trends for 2017. The hubs was finally able to score a bottle for me (love his wine and spirit connections!) and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
I was ready to make some Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas!
Both the pureed pickled strawberries and the mezcal are pretty intense flavors, so I knew I had to balance them out with some of the more mainstream margarita ingredients. A little fresh lime juice, a dash of Cointreau and some agave syrup did the trick.
It took a few tweaks to get all of the flavors balanced correctly, but after just a little bit of taste testing (no complaints here!) I finally came up with the perfect ratio of pickled strawberry to mezcal to Cointreau, lime juice and agave.
Now, the weekend is here, the rain is gone in Cali (for now) and we’re in the middle of football playoffs. If you ask me, this all calls for no better excuse than to whip up some Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas for you and your friends. Don’t you agree?
Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas
- 1 cup pickled strawberry puree (see Notes)
- 3 ounces mezcal
- 2 ounces agave syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- Lime wheels, for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into two rocks glasses filled ¾ of the way with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
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