Fresh fruit and herbs are the best drink ingredients, but growing seasons can be short, while cocktail cravings last year-round, so the best compromise is to preserve fresh produce for later use. This approach also works if you have a surplus of fruit and want to use it over the next month or so, except that it would sooner pass from ripe to rotten.
One of my favorite fleeting cocktail components is the kumquat, which I only see a week each year, so I developed this recipe to preserve them in a mixing-ready marmalade which balances the tartness to make a great sweetener.
I’ll post a marmalade cocktail recipe next week.
Kumquat Marmalade Recipe:
1/2 pound kumquats, washed and stemmed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil or tarragon, finely chopped (optional)
Pulse kumquats in food processor until finely chopped.
Soak fruit in water for 24 hours, then skim and discard seeds.
In a small saucepan, bring kumquat water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Stir in sugar and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming off foam and errant seeds.
Add optional herbs to the hot marmalade, let cool and refrigerate.
Use within a couple weeks or follow proper canning procedure if you intend to save it.