My palate craves a ping pong of flavors bursting about at all times…a little sweet, ever so slightly bitter, a bit of acidic brightness, and in winter, some warmth is always welcome. And by warmth I do not mean temperature — it is the pleasant sting of spice that I desire. For a cold-weather cocktail that strikes just the right balance of warming goodness, this bourbon-spiked, spiced persimmon blend does just the trick.
Persimmons were not something I grew up eating, ever. They always seemed foreign and a bit odd to me. They look almost like a tomato and are they a fruit? Can you eat the skin? What exactly am I meant to do with them? But this holiday season, good olde persi and I made fast friends. I quickly found that this perplexing fruit is AH-MAZE-ING — sweeter than sweet with hints of cinnamon and honeyed undertones, and once ripened to perfection, they practically melt in your mouth.
These little suckers are the best thing to happen to me this chilly season. In fact, I just might have fallen into a persimmon trance. They have toppled onto my cheese boards and made their way into moist, molasses-based cakes. They even made an appearance on one of my tablescapes once I found them on branches at the farmers’ market — score! When I get on board, I really get on board. So when Goop asked me to create a holiday cocktail, my new winter fruit bestie and I reunited once again, this time in puree form. Purees are an excellent choice when you are entertaining, as you can double the batch and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Word to the wise — have some patience with Persie. She is not one to be rushed. If eaten too soon, her taste will be far too tannic and leave you with cotton mouth. So instead, wait until your persimmons are overly ripe — you will be rewarded with delicate, sweet flavor and a custardy texture. But should you find yourself impatient, you can coax her along by placing good ole’ Persie in the freezer which will accelerate the ripening process.
Do your palate a favor and indulge in this winter cocktail combining Fuyu persimmons, maple, black pepper, cinnamon, lemon bitters, bourbon and brandy. Each of the elements support and elevate one another, amplifying their flavor. It is the perfect nuanced, celebratory drink to ring in 2017. Get Persie while you can, because by the end of February, she will be out of our lives until next autumn!“ For a cold-weather cocktail that’s warming, a little bit sweet, and pleasantly spicy, this bourbon-spiked blend does the trick.
Spiced Persimmon Bourbon Cocktail
Recipe developed by Athena Calderone & Jenny Huang
Makes 4 drinks
For the spiced maple simple syrup:
- 7 cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup water
For the persimmon puree:
- 3 ripe Fuyu persimmons
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- ½ cup water
For one cocktail:
- 1 ounce bourbon
- ½ ounce brandy
- 1 ½ ounces persimmon puree
- 1 ounce spiced maple simple
- 3-4 drops Angostura bitters
- Club soda, to finish
1. Using a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the cloves, peppercorn, and cinnamon stick.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup and water together, bring to a boil, and stir the maple syrup so that it fully combines with the water.
3. Add the spices, turn off the stove, and cover to cool completely.
4. In a blender, purée the persimmons, lemon juice, and water together until smooth. Vigorously mash through a strainer. After straining, you will have about 1 cup of liquid.
5. To make the cocktail, combine the bourbon, brandy, persimmon purée, spiced maple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake for about 15 seconds.
6. Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with persimmon slice.