I gave y’all a little teaser last week but I’m so glad to bring y’all this new series from the very talented Julia Chandler. This is written by her. Go over to her blog, follow her on FB, and twitter to find out what else she has going on. There is always something yummy going on in her kitchen.
Let me introduce you to a small little treat, key word here small, called kumquats. Yes kumquats, a little fruit you have probably heard of but might not know much about. They look like a tiny orange and taste like a bitter orange, sweet at first bite and then sour inside. Nature’s version of a sour patch kid if you will. Click here to learn more details about these jewels which are in season primarily in the Winter months.
So, if you know me, I am always looking for fun new culinary adventures and a trip to Trader Joe’s the other week ended with kumquats in my grocery cart, lost amid other fruits and cheeses. I recalled reading a recipe in the Lee Brothers Charleston Kitchen cookbook for a cocktail using kumquats, so it was straight home to research and then to work. The result, a delicious infused gin that works magic in a glass over ice with club soda. Go on, find some kumquats and mix it up today!
This yields a fabulously floral infused gin with such minimal effort I almost felt bad over how yummy it tasted. My “Mister Mixology” is strictly a bourbon drinker, but he did dip his finger in the jar and even he thought it was good. I hope you find the simple steps below delicious and easy, too.
1. In a pint Mason jar or other non-absorbent container, place about one cup of thinly sliced kumquats as pictured above in the bottom of jar. As you slice you will need to remove the seeds, but no worries, it was an easy task to do as you go.
2. Because I had fresh thyme to use up, I added 3-4 sprigs on top of the sliced fruit. Gin, by nature, is herbaceous and I think the combination worked well. You could leave it out entirely, or substitute other fresh herbs such as rosemary or basil. Play around, but the mild infusion of thyme was pretty darn good, not sure it could be beat!
3. Pour gin to cover the kumquats and herbs to the top of jar. I used Bombay Sapphire, as it is what I had the most of, but use what you enjoy drinking, it will be wonderfully enhanced with flavor after this.
4. Carefully place the lid on the jar, and set aside for 2-3 days for the flavors to infuse, just on your counter at room temperature. It’s fun to show off to friends, it’s really pretty in the jar, just don’t shake it up much!
5. I poured my Kumquat & Thyme infused Gin over ice and topped with a splash of club soda. It didn’t need a lime in my opinion due to the citrus of the kumquats, but if I had been serving it to guests I definitely would have fancied it up by garnishing with a sprig of fresh thyme and a slice of kumquat on the rim. But get jiggy with however you want to mix your drink…and share the love, please, let us know what you concoct as well!