The Friday Tipple: Tomato Water Martini

The leaves are starting to fall, dear Boozers. As the days shorten, we find ourselves with the last of the summer fruits gently rotting on the vine; you’ve probably seen them also, sadly tottering in untidy piles at the farmer’s market: tomatoes. They are usually rather ugly this time of year, coming in an odd assortment of colors, overripe to the point of implosion. These tomatoes are like wrinkled old women at the seaside determined to get one more day of sunshine before winter strips them of their tans. These tomatoes know that they are headed for the compost bin if they can’t attract your attention.

Luckily for them, we were inspired this week in the Good Booze kitchen by a recipe for tomato water in the latest issue of Imbibe and by a brand spanking new bottle of Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka. We treated this cocktail in the simplest way possible, much like our Last Gasp of Summer Liqueur — no need for fussiness here. The cucumber essence of the vodka combined with the slight tartness of the tomato water gives you one last tiny blast of summer, and, if you add a few drops of hot sauce (we like our local Uncle Brutha’s varieties), it turns out to be a pretty good way to combat the first head cold of the season. Either way, it’s a win-win, for you and those last desperate tomatoes of the year. Cheers!

Tomato Water Martini

One cup fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, any variety

Chilled vodka (we like the Square One Cucumber rye vodka)

Kosher salt

Hot sauce (Uncle Brutha’s No. 9 Chile Verde Garlic & Ginger is our fave)

Kalamata olives for garnish (optional, of course)

Let the tomatoes sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Wrap them in cheesecloth and squeeze them tightly to extract the juice, or press them through a fine-mesh sieve. Strain them again to remove any errant seeds or pulp. Pour two ounces of the tomato water and two ounces of vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass, then sprinkle a pinch of Kosher salt over the top, add a few dashes of hot sauce, and garnish with Kalamata olives. Enjoy!

The Friday Tipple: Pear & Pimm’s

Somewhere in the world, loyal Boozers, it’s Pimm’s O’Clock. “What?”, you shriek in disbelief, “Surely not! We have packed away our summer whites and Wimbledon is only a faint memory.” True, the bloom of summer is fading here in the northern hemisphere, but we see no reason why we have to give up on Pimm’s; with its subtle notes of citrus and spice, it is a perfect accompaniment to fall flavors. This week, we’ve decided to pair it with pear.

Because we are overachievers in the Good Booze kitchen, we made our own pear nectar lightly infused with cardamom and lavender honey, but you can easily purchase pear nectar in the store — some common brands are Goya and Looza. However, should you choose to give it a go, it is embarrassingly easy to make, so you’ll have to remember to smile modestly when you are showered with accolades from impressed friends, saying “No, really it was nothing. Only too pleased to work my fingers to the bone for you.”

The lush and fruity Pimm’s can actually be drunk straight up as it is without any mixer, so it is important to have a light hand when using it in a cocktail — the pear should not overwhelm. We added in some extra gin (try the Juniper Green Organic if you want to keep it all strictly British, but we also enjoy Catoctin Creek’s Organic Watershed Gin). Draw your chair up closer to the electric fire, nibble a warm scone with clotted cream, and sip on your Pear & Pimm’s. Lucky blighter.

Pear & Pimm’s

1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1

1 ounce gin (we like Juniper Green or Catoctin Creek)

2 ounces pear nectar

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an apple chip (optional, but delicious). Cheerio!