Earlier this week we had guests over for dinner to visit with our out of country guests. We had dinner under control and all was well when Bernard, my husband, suggested it was time for margaritas. No Margarita mix. What to do? Make up a cocktail.
Inspiration. I whipped out the Chocolate bitters I had recently bought after trying them at Culinaire in a cocktail whipped up by the Oak Bay Marina restaurant. Borrowing further inspiration from their use of citrus tequila, I grabbed some lemons and zested them. Wanting it not to be sour I added sugar and hot water to dissolve – and realized that I was about to make alcohol spiked lemon water. Pause. Rethink. Dump it in a pot and boil to reduce.
Back to the cocktail shaker. In go the chocolate bitters – which truly taste a lot like bitter chocolate – now what... Simple syrup (kind of) boiling, not that. What goes with chocolate and citrus? Almonds. Yum. Almond flavouring in. Vodka in. Now I am feeling like I have a cocktail on the go.
Grab another lemon. Try to do the cool peel like in a French 75 – get a inch and a quarter long limp string of zest. Close enough, into the bottom of the martini glasses.
Guests are arriving, more glasses. The pressure is building, dinner is almost ready, got to get this thing out.
Hot syrup not okay for a cold cocktail. Ice into the shaker. Bits of zest and pulp floating in the syrup, not good. Strain. Okay. Into the shaker. Shake like the dickens. Into a pitcher with lots more ice. Pour over my poor little lemon peels, add some club soda to dilute the booze a bit. Serve.
Accolades?!?!?! It is a hit. It needs a name. In honour of the visiting 85 year old - who I know from experience can drink me under the table - the “Sabine-tini” is born....