Cocktail Class: GO FIGURE
The long, sunny days and rising temperatures of June come as the fig season starts to hit its stride. As you sneak to the shade after some time at the pool or working in the garden, make sure to take the time to cool off with this rich, bright cocktail.
A flash of lime tartness floated along by tropical rum carries you through vanilla notes and into the clean, bold flavors of raspberry and blackcurrant of ruby Port. Molasses and fig finish this afternoon tipple with dessert-like flavors and allow summer to truly begin.
First, the TOOLS. You will need a cocktail shaker, a measuring jigger, a muddler, a hawthorne strainer, a fine mesh strainer, and a martini glass or champagne coupe.
The preparation asks for a vanilla simple syrup and a dehydrated fig wheel. The fig wheels need fresh figs cut and dried, either in a food dehydrator for a few hours or on low heat on parchment or wax paper in the oven. For a tastier vanilla simple syrup, combine equal parts granulated white sugar and water in a pot and cut a vanilla bean down its length, scrape out the seeds from the interior of the bean and add the seeds and the bean to the solution. Bring to a low boil until all the sugar is dissolved. Then bottle, bean and all. Stored in the fridge, this should keep for about a month. If you do not have vanilla beans, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to a cup of simple syrup will give you a worthy substitute.
On to the cocktail!
Now, the INGREDIENTS. To the shaker add:
- fresh fig, chopped and muddled
- 1 dash lemon bitters
- 1 dash molasses bitters
- .5 oz. vanilla simple syrup
- .75 oz. fresh lime juice
- .5 oz. ruby port wine
- 1.5 oz. white rum
Finally, the PROCESS: Fill the shaker with ice and shake hard for 10-15 seconds to aerate the cocktail and mix the ingredients. Consider it a little workout to keep your arms beach-ready. Place your hawthorne strainer over your shaker and strain through your fine mesh strainer into your waiting glass. Float your dehydrated fig wheel onto your cocktail like a brown raft in a ruby sea and enjoy.
Tip from the bar: Chilling your glass ahead of time keeps your cocktail from warming too quickly. Either place your glass in the freezer or fill it with ice and water before beginning your cocktail mixing. Discard the ice water just before straining your cocktail. I try not to put a cold drink in a warm glass.
About our mixologist: Dustin Crawford is co-owner – with partner Kip Rodier – of the 33 Room in Peoria Heights. Prior to that, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran traveled the world before returning home to work his magic behind the bar at various central Illinois establishments, including 2 Chez.