A few weeks ago, I was flipping through one of my many food magazines and came across an ad for Domaine de Canton, a ginger liqueur, looking suspiciously of the same makers of St Germain, the elderflower blossom liqueur that I adore. This was my call to action to hunt it down and test it out. The packaging and website had the same flair and sleekness. In comparing the two bottle and package designs side by side, I still think St Germain prevails in both design and flavor, but as always those two things are completely subjective.
I have never had a ginger liqueur, but I do recall giant ginger roots shoved in large glass canisters, hidden in a cupboard in my parents home. These things always scared me when I would open the cupboard and reminded me of some weird mad scientist experiment. Aside from this spooky childhood visual association, I decided to give Canton a whirl. Needless to say, I am already in need of replenishing my stock of the frosted, bamboo inspired bottle.
Of course, for anything I have not made before, I like to follow recipes for the first time. The bamboo inspired bottle came with a handsome leaflet with several cocktail recipes that can also be found on their website. Since we were expecting a crowd of 20-25, we wanted the aperitif / festive cocktail to be easy to make and serve so we decided to make a pitcher of it ahead of time and planned to shake it in an iced shaker with fresh mint prior to serving. For the Upscale Patriotic event, Stephen wanted to come up with some red white and blue cocktail. I thought that was a bit much and have never been a fan of that blue stuff that Tom Cruise made famous from his best film ever, Cocktail. We settled on something red and I really wanted to use the Domaine de Canton.
If you haven’t guessed already, I like being the first on the block to know about something and the first to tell people about it. There’s no better way than to serve it at a party.
We had every intention to make the strawberry ginger martini recipe that was in the leaflet. Our plans went awry. It was much too strong and tasted like moonshine and was basically all vodka and ginger. Drinking martini’s out of plastic cups just doesn’t seem right to me, either. I kinda wanted to keep my nose hairs so we decided to sweeten things up and water it down with lime juice, sugar, and Perrier. Ideally, we would have used seltzer water or club soda, but since this all happened moments before guests were arriving, we ended up having to reel it back in into something more palatable with what we had on hand. It came out mojito-like but the ginger and strawberry added a nice touch in color and flavor and made for a nice summery drink.
Strawberry Ginger Cocktail:
makes 4 drinks
4 jiggers of vodka, preferably Belvedere or something decent.
2 jiggers of Domaine de Canton
12 sprigs fresh mint leaf, leaving some for garnish
2-limes juiced (you can use bottled sweetened lime juice too but do not add sugar if doing so)
1 tbs sugar or to taste
seltzer water, to taste
lots of ice
Crush strawberries, vodka and ginger liqueur with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Strain it in a fine mesh sieve by lightly pushing on it, of the solids and discard. The liquid should be a pretty red color. Pour in a pitcher and add the lime juice, sugar, and seltzer water. Stir and refrigerate. Right before serving, shake with ice and mint in a shaker and pour into cocktail glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs or thin slices of strawberries.
Some other ideas we had were using watermelon instead of strawberries. I also tried this same drink with fresh peaches instead of strawberries and it came out tasting like summer in a glass.
WALLFLOUR PARTY TIP:
When making fancy cocktails for parties, I like to prepare as much as possible for guests to be able to help themselves or for myself be able to get a few drinks out at a time with minimal effort and quickly. In this case, we made a couple pitchers of the festive cocktail mixture and had them standing by in the refrigerator. Since our intention was just to for everyone to have one, we didn’t go overboard. The mixture was easily freshened up with ice and mint and looked beautiful even in plastic cups.
Pre-cutting the garnish of lime wedges and mint spigs makes for a nice bar area for other drinks as well.
For parties of more than 8-10 people- I usually will use plastic or disposable cups. These can be washed and reused for future gatherings.