1 1/2 oz Gin [Bully Boy]
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz Dry Curacao [Pierre Ferrand]
1/2 oz House Strawberry Basil Black Peppercorn Shrub
Stir ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with basil sprig.
Ahh summer. Between farmer’s markets, variety of in store produce, and pick-your-own options a bound, a great season for the cocktail lover. Last year after a strawberry picking outing, I made a strawberry shrub which, unsurprisingly, didn’t last very long. Flipping through my cocktail journal I came upon one of the recipes I created with it.
This year my strawberry haul was even better, and I decided to up the ante by adding basil and black peppercorn to the shrub. When I spotted this drink in my journal, I hadto give it a go with this new and improved version. From what I remember, the strawberry and vanilla was a fantastic combination. I was excited to see what happens when you add some edgier elements like basil and black peppercorn to the mix.
When I mixed this one up, the color was striking. A lovely pale pink reminiscent of a fine rosé (mental note: make a cocktail with Licor 43 and rose), hence the name. The nose on this one is no joke. Botanicals come from all directions, juniper from the gin, soft vanilla from Licor 43, and sharp basil notes from the shrub. Vanilla dominates on the first sip, combining with the strawberry in a magical union. Zesty citrus flavors from curacao define the edges, picking some of the same up in the Licor 43. Meanwhile the gin keeps everything at attention with a nice boozy zing. The swallow is more pillowy vanilla, followed by one last kick from the shrub as the black pepper finally makes its way through.
There are two key take aways from this drink. One, summer produce is a homebartender’s best friend. Syrups, shrubs, infusions – the possibilities are endless. See what’s available in your area and get to experimenting. Second, Licor 43 has officially become a staple in my bar. The vanilla flavors are just too inviting, without any of the noisy anise you get with Galliano. Even better, when you find the right combination, like strawberries in this case, you can unleash its full potential.