Strawberries are more than just fruit—they’re a sweet, edible sign that spring has turned into summer. The juicy red berries make a dry piece of shortcake memorable and are delectable enough to eat plain or with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. They can also be used in a range of delicious and refreshing drinks.
While frozen berries are available year round and make a perfectly respectable cocktail (Daiquiri anyone?), like peaches and tomatoes, strawberries are at their best during summer when they’re in season. They’re also quite versatile and work with many spirits and mixers. Strawberries pair perfectly with bubbly and they shine with rum, vodka and gin, like in the tasty Balsamic Berry made at San Francisco bar Mr. Smith’s, which calls for fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, balsamic vinegar and Hendrick’s Gin. The fruit even works well with brown spirits, like in the signature cocktail at New York City bar Ward III, which combines fresh strawberries and Maker’s Mark Bourbon. And at the Roger Room in Los Angeles, berries are mixed with cognac, Campari and sweet vermouth.
So the next time you pick up some fresh strawberries, forget about making dessert and start mixing up some cocktails instead.
Contributed by David Ruiz and Brad Burt
- 3 Strawberries, hulled
- 2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 1 tsp Strawberry jam
- 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
- .5 oz Fresh lime juice
- .25 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- Several large dashes Balsamic vinegar
Garnish: Lime peel
In a shaker, muddle the strawberries. Add the remaining ingredients except the Champagne and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Top with Champagne and garnish with a lime peel.
Contributed by Michael Neff
- Large strawberry
- 2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- .75 oz Fresh lime juice
- .5 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- 3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1 Egg white
- Garnish: Grated nutmeg and strawberry slice
- Glass: Rocks glass
Muddle the strawberry in a shaker. Add the other ingredients and fill with large ice cubes. Shake vigorously for at least one minute and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a slice of strawberry.
Contributed by Damian Windsor
- Fresh strawberry
- 1.25 oz Hennessy VS Cognac
- .75 oz Campari
- .75 oz Carpano Antica Formula
- Garnish: Orange peel
- Glass: Rocks
Mist a rocks glass with Ricard and fill it with ice. Set it aside to chill. Muddle a strawberry in a mixing glass and add the other ingredients and ice. Stir. Dump the ice from the rocks glass and fill it with two fresh ice cubes. Strain the liquid from the mixing glass into the rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.
Maria C. Hunt is hostess of the champagne appreciation and entertaining web site The Bubbly Girl and author of The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion.