Sarah and Dulcie's seasonal recipes don't stop at fork-friendly foods on their Two Tarts blog. In their new column, Locally Mixed, they expand on their interest in scratch-made sippables, and prove that cocktails are just as deserving of fresh, local flavors.
This week, Sarah and Dulcie celebrate the tail end of summer with a tequila-laced fresh blackberry cocktail.
Let's talk tequila for a moment. It has a party-girl or shooter-with-lime type of reputation that it doesn't deserve. A quality tequila is smooth, nuanced, flavorful, and worthy of exploration. Here are some high points.
Tequila is sort of like Champagne; in order to be labeled with the name "tequila," it must be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco and be made with a very specific variety of agave: blue agave. If it doesn't meet these requirements, the spirit imposter has to be called an "agave-based spirit."
Tequila must also be made with at least 51% agave sugar, and the most pure stuff is made with 100% agave sugar. The more agave there is, the more bold and complex the herbal agave flavors will be. Variations in climate and soil produce many variations in the flavor profile, as they do for wine.
We're loving Espolón Tequila Blanco for our tequila needs these days. First of all, we're suckers for its strikingly illustrated black-and-white label. But, of course, as any true tequila connoisseur will tell you, you can't judge by the label alone.
Espolón's Blanco is made from 100% agave sugar that is roasted for almost twice the standard time, which results in richer, more intense agave flavors. This yields strong notes of pepper and herbal greenery, which are followed by a background of creamy sweetness and lingering spice. (Thanks to Kevin Gray at Cocktail Enthusiast -- and his honed palate -- for the inspiring tasting notes!)
We wanted to combine this flavorful tequila with something bright and fruity to celebrate the end of summer, and we came up with a surprisingly simple blackberry purée.
Literally dump two things (berries and sugar) into the trusty, old food processor, and whir them around together for a minute. The time-saving trick is to strain the seeds from the berry purée through a fine-mesh sieve and directly into the large glass measuring cup or pitcher that you'll use to mix up the rest of the drink.
Add the lime, along with a little honey or agave to taste, and you've got the perfect cocktail for closing out summer. Not to mention a new-found appreciation for high-quality tequila.
Summer's End Cocktail
Makes 4 drinks
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice (from about 5 limes)
1 cup tequila
2 tablespoons agave or honey (to taste)
2 cups crushed ice
Lime twists & blackberries for garnish
Like this post? See Sarah and Dulcie's previous topic: Tomato Basil Martini.
Photos by Sarah Welle and Dulcie Wilcox.
Sarah and Dulcie run the blog Two Tarts, which specializes in delicious recipes and cocktails using local and seasonal ingredients.