Strawberries are truly, madly, deeply my favorite fruit. They’re my favorite fruit to jam, bake, infuse, roast, and to indulge in raw state. Truly, I see no bad strawberry, at least when we’re talking about the perfectly ripe kind. [But let’s not get me started on the year-round mutant berries found in groceries.]
My goal for June has been to find ways to stretch those strawberries beyond simply one or two recipes. The raw strawberry syrup from Karen Solomon is a stunner. The first time I stirred this syrup into carbonated water and took a sip, I freaked out. You know how artificial strawberry tastes, right? That’s what I tasted. The fakest of fake strawberry soda. Except it’s REAL. My mind is blown. It’s so purely strawberry, I feel a bit foolish doing much more to it.
But I discovered that a few additions can take the simple homemade strawberry soda and turn it into something even more delightful. Pick your favorite floral or citrus-focused gin [skip the juniper for now], add some pineapple juice and a heavy hand of bitters, and oh my. And if you’ve never picked up a bottle of bitters before, get to it! Not only did it add a whole new dimension to this cocktail, bitters can even perk up a simple glass of iced seltzer. [I’m sort of obsessed with this Bitter Truth Traveling Set, a variety pack of small bottles.]
So go make Karen Solomon’s strawberry syrup. I followed her recipe as-is, but I left out the black pepper for a pure berry flavor. And then mix up some berry cocktails. Your friends and family will love you for it.
My friends would beg to differ, but this cocktail is lovely with or without the gin. I implore you to add the bitters if you are making it non-alcoholic though. They add a wonderful depth and slight savory edge. I used celery bitters, but most light bitters would be welcome - orange, lemon, grapefruit, creole.
- 2 oz gin - I used Gordon's gin
- 2 oz strawberry syrup
- 1 oz pineapple juice - good stuff, not from concentrate
- a few dashes celery bitters
- In a highball glass, add the gin, strawberry syrup and pineapple juice. Stir well to combine. Add ice cubes to the glass, top with seltzer and stir once gently. Top with bitters and enjoy!