In summer especially, we’re all about fruit cocktails. Contrary to popular belief, fruit cocktails don’t have to be sweet or unsophisticated. Chefs and pastry chefs alike embrace fruit in all its forms; why should the term “fruity drink” be disparaging?
Fresh apricots can vary in flavor—pale orange supermarket varieties can’t compare to tender, reddish-orange apricots bursting with nectar. But a great apricot liqueur delivers every time.
As so often with fruit liqueurs, we adore Giffard’s version, named Abricot du Roussillon. It’s fragrant with the aroma of ripe, juicy apricots, with a little hint of vanilla and caramel. While it’s plenty sweet, it’s the friendly, natural sweetness of fresh fruit, which helps balance powerful flavors of booze or citrus. Shake it into cocktails and you’re off to the races. Here are three we love.
Easy: Sparkling Apricot
Perfect for brunch, perfect for warm summer afternoons, this cocktail stiffens up the apricot liqueur with vodka and tops it with a big pour of bubbles. Sparkling and fruity, while a little lemon juice keeps it from being too sweet.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of vodka, half an ounce of apricot liqueur, 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of cava and give a quick stir. Garnish with apricot slices and lemon wheels.
Intermediate: Rum, Ginger & Apricot
A by-no-means-definitive survey of family and friends declared this one of the best drinks we’ve made in recent memory. With rich dark rum, ginger, and lime together with the apricot, it’s almost like a fruit-tinged Dark & Stormy. Ideal before dinner on a hot summer night.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of dark rum, half an ounce apricot liqueur, an ounce of fresh lime juice, and half an ounce simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of ginger ale and give a quick stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Easy: Apricot & Mint
Some of our favorite warm-weather cocktails combine fruit flavors with herbal ones. Here, the fruit comes, of course, through the apricot liqueur, along with some lemon for a tart counterpart; the herbal character, through gin and through plenty of fresh mint. Nicely balanced, not too sweet, and with a great burst of mint of the nose thanks to a big mint garnish.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of gin, 3/4 ounce apricot liqueur, an ounce of fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup, as well as 10 mint leaves. Shake up until well-chilled, then double-strain (through a fine mesh strainer, as well as through the shaker’s own strainer) into a wine glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an apricot slice and a small bouquet of mint, tapped gently against your hand before adding to the drink to release its aroma.
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