Monday, January 27, 2014

Grapefruit Margaritas with Citrus-Vanilla Syrup

Usually citrus season comes and I want to make infused pot de cremes, little cookies speckled with zest or cakes flavored with bright lemon.

But seriously, I needed a drink so instead, I invited citrus season to cocktails. California has been so delightfully warm lately (delightful despite the subsequent drought) and I wanted to enjoy a cocktail out on the patio. I came home from the Mexican market with some citrus and some tequila and the rest goes like this...

In a large mason jar, start with the juice of two freshly squeezed grapefruits then add the juice of one lime and half an orange. Pour in two (or just slightly more than two) shots of tequila. For this, I used my family's favorite, Casadores! Next, add about 3oz of citrus-vanilla syrup (recipe below), 5 ice cubes and then close up the jar.

Next, rim two, 4oz glasses with a quarter slice of lemon and dip the glass into vanilla sugar (my vanilla sugar is made from leftover vanilla pods and a really tasty Mexican sugar called "azucar morena". It is basically a finer demarara sugar but available in my local market). Fill the glasses with ice, a quarter slice of orange and a thin slice of lime. Fix the quarter slice of lemon to the rim.

Shake the mason jar and watch the vanilla beans spin around with the pink cocktail and then pour the margarita into the glasses. You will probably want to double the recipe, because they are so delicious to enjoy with friends on a warm afternoon.

Citrus Vanilla Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and pod reserved
1cup of water
3 slices of fresh valencia orange
half a lime, sliced
half a lemon, sliced

1. In a small pot, work the vanilla seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Add the empty pod to the pot and pour in the water.
2. Nestle the citrus into the pot and turn the heat on to medium-high heat. Once the syrup has come to a boil, turn of the heat and remove from the burner. Steep the fruit and vanilla in the syrup for 10 minutes and then strain into a container. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before use. 
The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

(Note: Letting the syrup boil for too long will break up the fruit fiber too much and make your syrup cloudy.)

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