Friday, May 5, 2017

Fresh Spearmint Frozen Margaritas


It's Cinco de Mayo, a serious holiday celebrating Mexican military victory over the French. For many of us non-Mexicans (I'm looking at you Americans), it's become an excuse to chug solidarity margaritas. I am here today to perpetuate that stereotype with these minty margaritas. 




Many people are squeamish about spearmint flavor foods believing they taste like toothpaste. That may be true for some. I happen to love spearmint flavor. A big fan of spearmint lifesavers and spearmint leaves gummy candies since childhood.




In the past, I have experimented with sexy spearmint flavor in several incarnations. Vanilla Spearmint French Macarons, Spearmint Chocolate Truffles, and even Spearmint Fudge Ripple Ice Cream were all results of my spearmint recipe adventures.


The above were all made with flavor oil. The fresh variety grows like crazy in my garden. Usually, I am ripping out half of it by mid-April.  I started pulling it out by the roots last week, then I remembered the amazing Limonana I had in Haifa, spearmint flavored lemonade which is a local staple. So I grabbed a few handfuls of fresh spearmint leaves and this drink recipe was born. 




To make the margarita, you first have to make a spearmint flavored simple syrup which is very easy to do. That's why the call it "simple syrup".  Boil equal parts sugar and water together with several chopped fresh spearmint leaves. The margarita recipe itself is simple to assemble,  just the spearmint syrup, tequila and a squeeze of lime blended with ice. 


If I had more time, I would have created some spearmint sugar to rim the glass with. I've described how to make flavored sugar below.  




Spearmint syrup has many other creative uses in addition to creating cocktails. Add a splash to club soda, for refreshing flavor, spike your hot chocolate with it or use it to add pep to salad dressings and cake frosting.


Fresh Spearmint Frozen Margaritas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 2
Ingredients:
  • 1 +1/2 cups ice
  • 3 shots chilled tequila
  • 4 tablespoons cold spearmint syrup (see recipe below)
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Fresh spearmint leaves and, if you like white granulated sugar or spearmint sugar* for garnish
Directions:
  • Pour out onto a flat plate.
  • Wet the rims for two margarita glasses and dip in the chili sugar and salt mixture.
  • Add ice to the glasses.
  • Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake and pour into the two prepared margarita glasses.
  • Garnish each margarita with a cherry and serve
*Spearmint sugar can be made the week before. Add 3 tablespoons freshly chopped spearmint leaves to 1 cup sugar. Stir to combine. Place in a tightly sealed jar. Every few days shake the sugar. After 1 week, separate the spearmint leaves from the sugar. Use immediately or store the sugar for future use. 


Spearmint Syrup
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 11 cup
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/c cup fresh chopped spearmint leaves
Directions:
  • Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  • Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, let the mixture stand overnight.
  • Strain the liquid into a small pitcher.and chill.

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