Posted on September 1st, 2011
After spending months pruning and trellising, hunched over among the bees in the shade of the pungent leaves singing “where is my twine?” it’s finally tomato season. Between the Septoria, potato leaf beetles and mini-monsoons we’ve been experiencing, I’m all too eager to see them off the vine and sealed away safely in jars. But no matter how nice it will be to have home-grown tomato sauce in the winter, I still need to go on my annual tomato bender.
Like a bird that’s been waiting for the pokeweed berries to turn purple, I’m currently packing myself full of fresh tomatoes at every opportunity. I will order an heirloom tomato salad when I go out for dinner, even if lunch was thickly-sliced tomatoes on baguette. All pasta gets coated in a magical blender sauce made of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil, parmesan and chunks of fresh mozzarella. If I’m heading out to the farmer’s market for some special heirlooms, I’ll grab a handful of cherry tomatoes for the walk.
And now the savory fruits have invaded my cocktail glass as well. Using this recipe for the Heirloom Tomato Mojitonico as inspiration, I nixed the bubbles in favor of a straight up cocktail to be served in a frosty coupe:
Sunday Sun Day
1/2 cup halved orange cherry tomatoes or chunks of yellow/orange heirloom tomatoes
1/4 lime wedge
2-3 fresh basil leaves
2 oz. fine Canadian Gin, such as Spirit Bear (JK– it doesn’t have to be Canadian, but I totally have Spirit Bear)
0.75 oz. Bianco vermouth
Put your cocktail glass in the freezer. Muddle the tomatoes, lime, and basil leaves well. Add the gin and vermouth and shake with ice. Double strain into the frosty glass and garnish with a dash of your favorite bitters and a cherry tomato.
I had sweet orange cherry tomatoes, so my drink was a golden/peach color and it was delicious. Meaty yet refreshing. The vermouth enhanced the savory side, but if I hadn’t been out of Lillet Blanc I would have used that instead. I added a dash of lavender bitters, which I thought worked nicely with the basil. Recommended pairings include… tomatoes.