Friday, June 22, 2012

Margaritas for breakfast? ¡Si!

There's a little jam and pickle company in Montreal called The Preservation Society, and they had a luscious-sounding recipe recently featured in Toronto's The Globe and Mail designed to take advantage of June's strawberry harvest: STRAWBERRY MARGARITA JAM! Boy howdy, doesn't that sound like something else?

According to its creator, chef Camilla Wynne, this jam would be fantastic over ice cream or cheesecake, or even swirled into yogurt for a little breakfast pick-me-up. (Tee hee.) I haven't used it on anything yet, but I can attest---it tastes EXACTLY like a strawberry margarita! Whoo-hoo!

Strawberry Margarita Jam
(Source: The Preservation Society)
Yield: 7 half-pints (I only got 6)

3 limes
3 cups water
2 quarts strawberries
4 1/4 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I only used 1 1/2 teaspoons, and 1 teaspoon might have been enough!)
1 teaspoon citric acid
5 tablespoons silver tequila
3 tablespoons triple sec

Quarter the limes lengthwise and slice them as thinly as possible. Place them with the water in a bowl and soak overnight. The next day bring the limes and water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until limes are tender and most of the water has evaporated, about one hour. In the meantime, wash, hull and halve the strawberries (or quarter if large), and mix with the sugar in a large bowl. Allow to macerate until limes are ready. Put a small plate in the freezer, and sterilize your jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the limes are ready, add the strawberry-sugar mixture and the lemon juice. Increase heat until medium high and boil until froth subsides and bubbles become regular and sputter violently. Stir frequently. The jam is ready when a teaspoon of the mixture spends two minutes on the plate in the freezer then wrinkles when pushed gently with the index finger. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and citric acid. Let rest, stirring often, for five minutes. Stir in tequila and triple sec. Fill sterilized jars to within a 1/4 “ of the rim, seal with lids, and heat process five minutes in a hot water bath.

When I went to the liquor store to acquire the tequila and triple sec, I got to chatting with a nice couple of guys who were buying up a bunch of something called Key Largo Schnapps. They had it in a cocktail called "Skyy's the Limit" (also featuring Skyy's pineapple-infused vodka) at a bar in Albany. I didn't catch all of the ingredients in the drink other than 7-Up and cranberry juice, but I decided to buy a bottle and make up a drink with it when I got home. Here's what I came up with, and though I don't even really drink myself (despite what this post may lead you to believe), I'm declaring this THE OFFICIAL COCKTAIL OF SUMMER, and I call it...

Gina's Tropical Transgression

In a 16 oz. glass filled halfway with ice, add the following:

1 oz. vodka (preferably, pineapple, orange, or citrus-infused)
1/2 oz. Key Largo Schnapps
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice

Top off with 7-Up (better yet--Fresca!) and add a twist of lime and (naturally) a fruity little paper umbrella and a colorful/whimsical straw!

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