A few days ago, after a nice enough brunch at Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, I bought a bottle of vodka. Not to replicate the Bloody Mary served at Char -- they make theirs with bourbon and it's great! -- but to test yet another recipe. I had concocted a formula for apple-ginger-pear martinis that made their way into my new cookbook Radically Simple (they take only five minutes to make!), but I needed a hip summer libation for a new project. My idea was to use hibiscus tea as a base and go from there. After choosing a bottle of pretty cheap vodka in a local liquor store (it still cost $21.00), I sat with it, and my family, in the back of a car service. It sloshed around as the car moved rapidly through the icy slush from the Heights to the Slope. So eager to start "cocktail-ing," I high-tailed it to my kitchen and went right for the ice cubes. "Oh no," I sighed. "I left the booze in the back seat." "Someone in New York will soon be drinking my vodka." If it happens to be you (!), here is the recipe for the quite-addictive apple-ginger-pear martinis. Make them by the pitcher so that you don't need to be shaking and stirring when your guests arrive. As for the martini made with hibiscus tea, simple syrup, fresh ginger, and lime, I decided to use GIN instead. Blessings to my husband who reluctantly parted with a few shots of his beloved Old Raj. It's one of the most expensive on the market -- and definitely one of the best. Cheers!
1-1/2 cups pear nectar (Goya makes a decent one) 2-1/2 cups apple juice 4 limes 4 teaspoons honey* 1-1/4 cups vodka 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
Stir the pear nectar and apple juice together in a pitcher. Squeeze 6 tablespoons lime juice into the pitcher. Add the honey and stir until it dissolves. Stir in the vodka. Grate the ginger on the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated ginger in a paper towel and squeeze to extract 1 tablespoon juice; add to the pitcher. Stir, cover, and refrigerate until very cold. Pour into chilled martini glasses or serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime. Serves 6
*Read yesterday's blog about honey and the upcoming bee event at Stone Barns, just in case you missed it!