Tomato Cocktails: Beyond Bloodies
Name one tomato cocktail that isn't a Bloody Mary. Go on. We'll wait.
Still thinking? Thought so.
Mixologists across Atlanta are here to help expand your repertoire. They've been slicing, dicing, peeling and seeding the infamous fruit to craft cocktails for the annual JCT. Kitchen Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, an event held each summer in Atlanta in which a chef or mixologist is paired with a farmer to create a tomato-based dish or drink. This year, 42 chefs and 16 mixologists will vie for the blue ribbon and proceeds benefit Georgia Organics.
When you say tomato, mixologists Stuart White of Miller Union and Eduardo Guzman of JCT. Kitchen say tequila. "Blanco tequila has a vegetal quality that pairs well with the assertive flavors of tomato water," says White, who adds cilantro and Thai basil to his Heirloom Reviver to seal the deal. "Sometimes, after drinking a tomato juice cocktail, I feel like I've had a whole meal. I was inspired to create a cocktail that still has the essence of tomato flavor while being light and refreshing."
White uses 'Black Krim' and 'Purple Cherokee' tomatoes for their high water content and garnishes his drink with candied micro basil, a technique he picked up from Miller Union pastry chef Pamela Moxley.
By Stuart White, Miller Union, Atlanta, Georgia
1.5 ounces blanco tequila
.75 ounces 'Black Krim' or 'Purple Cherokee' tomato water*
.5 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
.33 ounces agave syrup
Shake ingredients, strain and serve in a cup with candied basil garnish.**
Yields 35-40 ounces
3 pounds tomatoes (we prefer 'Purple Cherokee' or 'Black Krim')
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
¼ cup cilantro, chopped coarsely
¼ cup Thai basil, chopped coarsely
Working in batches, puree the tomatoes and salt. Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth, place tomato puree in cloth and set in container to drain.
Place chopped cilantro and Thai basil in draining container to rest with tomato water. Allow 12-18 hours to drain. Strain, transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate. The tomato water will stay fresh for 3 days.
**Candied basil garnish
1 bunch micro basil
1 egg white
½ cup fine sugar
Wash and dry the micro basil thoroughly. Lightly coat micro basil in egg white (too much will make the sugar clump up) and dust with fine sugar. Place on a sheet pan covered in wax paper and dry at room temperature then transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator until needed.
For his Sangrita, Eduardo Guzman of JCT. Kitchen uses lime juice and three different kinds of peppers—poblano, chipotle and guajillo—for flavor. "The tomatoes work perfectly with the earthiness and the heat of the peppers to create a balanced flavor," he says.
By Eduardo Guzman, JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Atlanta, Georgia
1 ounce Herradura silver tequila
1 ounce Sangrita mix*
Put tequila in a shot glass neat. Pour Sangrita in a shot glass with a salt, pepper and guajillo pepper powder rim. Serve side by side.
3 pinches salt
2 ounces lime juice
4 dashes soy sauce
1 ounce heirloom tomatoes
½ Vidalia onion
2 poblano peppers
1 chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon powered guajillo pepper
Mix all of the ingredients in a blender.