In summer, my cocktail making inspiration comes from daily garden waterings and walks through my neighbors and friends' farms. In winter, inspiration can be elusive. Sometimes it comes from my local coffee shop, like the London fog cocktail I've been dreaming of lately. (London fog = earl grey tea made with half steamed milk and half water, and then coconut, vanilla, or lavender syrup is added.) Sometimes inspiration comes in snot form, when all I want during my common cold suffering is a hot toddy, and at times it has come from the Instagram feeds of others, especially the Australians who keep me both jealous and hopeful with their sun soaked summer photos. The other day, it struck me out of nowhere, in the aisles of QFC while grocery shopping.
In my first trimester of pregnancy I wanted nothing to do with booze, so making drinks for others was actually a bit nauseating. In my second, I am frequently hit with deep yearnings for a cold flute of champagne. In truth, in some especially difficult teetotaler moments, I'd happily live the high life of the "champagne of beers." So when I saw quince paste in the fine cheeses section on QFC, my baby kicked with joy and longing. I told this booze hound baby to settle down, and I popped it in my cart, and began to think about Gin. I knew the quince would go beautifully with an herbaceous liquor, and I had a bottle of Tarragon Gin in the bar after a recent visit to hometown distillery, Sea Bishop Spirits (go see them in Black Diamond, WA, the cute little "gem" - yes I went there- of a town I grew up in.) This recipe was the resulting combination, and for the next 5 months, I implore you to enjoy one of these for me regularly. I'll live vicariously through each complex, tart-sweet sip.
Perfect for brunch or happy hour, this cocktail will transport you to spring days, despite all ingredients being readily available in the depths of winter.
Tarragon and Quince Cocktail Recipe
2 oz of tarragon gin like Sea Bishop Spirits
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz quince syrup (poach fresh quince and use the remaining liquid in this cocktail), or quince jam or quince paste, which is mashed/mixed into the citrus juice to become a syrup
3 drops of citrus bitters like Scrappy's bitters
Shake all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker until the shaker becomes cold and water condenses on the outside. Carefully strain the drink into a coupe and enjoy cold.