Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Concord Grape Margaritas
A favorite seasonal fruit plus a favorite bevarage. How could I possibly go wrong?
Thankfully the answer to this question wasn't "easily". Though I did bravely endure some trial and error to get the proportions right. Which is why I didn't post it yesterday as promised. It needed more testing. The grapey flavor needed to come through without being overwhelmed by the flavor of the tequila, but not be too sweet. And I, a recipe blogger on a mission to create something awesome for my ten or so followers, made myself a guinnea pig for all of you. Aren't I selfless?
This is another area where I thought: I must be a genius. Of course, a little googling taught me that the good people at Monin syrups had already thought of this. But it was a frozen margarita. And it included blue curacao syrup. Nothing good ever comes of drinking blue drinks. (A drink at the Subway Inn--a now dive across the street from Bloomindale's that in the 50s it was frequented by Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, now it's a dive with broken booths and graffiti-covered bathrooms--on the Upper East Side called the "Adios Mother F*cker" that some coworkers decided to buy me on my last day at an old job taught me this. It has proven to be, pretty much invariably true). I also wanted to create a drink that conformed to the definition of "margarita" that a former coworker from Mexico taught me: "It should be like a martini, but made with tequila". This particular "margarita" is on the rocks, but I would hope much closer to Lea Ann's margarita than the overly-sweetened frozen margarita recipe from Monin.
A quick note about the concord grape syrup--it is full of delicious grape flavor, but it's a little on the thin side. Feel free to cook yours down longer (or substitute sugar for agave nectar) in order to make a thicker syrup. Just be sure to adjust your proportions accordingly. After my slightly-gelled red currant syrup I was a little scared to cook this too long. (PS--also makes amazing concord grape soda).
For those of you who have the next two days off for Rosh Hashanah and don't celebrate that particular holiday (like me): Happy Weeked! If you do celebrate Rosh Hashanah: L'shana tova. For those of you who have to go to work tomorrow...no concord grape margaritas for you, but have a great rest of your week!
Concord Grape Margaritas
1 part concord grape syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 parts tequila
coarse sea salt for the glass
Salt the rim of a chilled highball glass. Add a few ice cubes.
Place the tequila and the concord grape syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the prepared glass.
Concord Grape Syrup
1 c concord grapes
3 T light agave nectar
Heat the grapes and the agave in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. As the grape start to release their juices, mash them a bit with a potato masher or a fork. Simmer until the mixture begins to thicken slightly,10-15 minutes.
Pour the syrup into a fine mesh strainer positioned over a bowl. Press as much pulp as possible through the strainer using a rubber spatula, removing the seeds as necessary and scraping the pulp from the bottom of the strainer occasionally.
Return the syrup to the pan and cook over low heat for a while longer, stirring to prevent scorching, until the mixture has thickened to a syrup-like consistency (mine was about the thickness of warm maple syrup and, of course, thickened as it cooled).
Makes about 6 oz of syrup.