The Modern Martini (cilantro-lime gin cocktail)

In the name of science and the public good, I’ve infused another bottle of spirits. I know some might be nervous about potentially wasting a perfectly good bottle of booze by stuffing it full of a bunch of nonsense. And as of the date this is published, there are no comments nor reviews on the recipe at bonappetit.com. Someone had to step up to see if it was any good.

the modern martini (gin + cilantro + lime)

cilantro + lime gin

making the modern martini

This is very good. Yes, I am big fan of cilantro, but I am not a big fan of gin. I’ve had a number of several gin and tonics at Stephanie and Jack’s (first with Bombay Sapphire, later with Gordon’s, which I preferred), always with high expectations, but I’ve always been slightly put off by the flavor. When I first sampled this concoction after one day of infusing, I was disappointed because that distinct gin flavor was still there. It also tasted strongly of cilantro. However, when I tried it again the next day, something magical had happened. It tasted herbaceous and smooth. The flavors had melded. And while it tasted a bit green, if I hadn’t known that it was infused with cilantro, I don’t think I could have put my finger on it.

This really couldn’t be easier to make. If a fresh-tasting, simple (and strong) cocktail is what you’re after, you should definitely make this. I also appreciate that all of the effort happens upfront with this cocktail. When you are ready to drink it, you just need to shake it up with some ice and garnish it with a twist.

The Modern Martini

from bon appétit, June 2013

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 750-ml bottle London dry gin
  • 3 cups fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 8 lime twists or rounds (to garnish the finished cocktail)

To make the gin, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water in a large jar, cover, and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add gin, cilantro, and lime juice (save gin bottle for finished product). Cover and chill 2 days. Strain into a medium bowl; discard cilantro. Pour cilantro-lime gin back into reserved bottle.

For each cocktail, pour 3 ounces cilantro-lime gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover; shake until cocktail shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with lime twists.

Cilantro-Lime Gin can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled.

Cheers!

Megan

P.S. We enjoyed these cocktails with the delightful company of Martha, who was in town at the time. Her visit was the perfect opportunity to finally make a rhubarb recipe I’ve been itching to make for a while now: rustic corn tarts with rhubarb compote! It is now listed under the appropriate category with notes in Rhubarb Roundup Part 1, but I’ll just stick the pics here:

rustic rhubarb tarts

 rustic rhubarb tart with ice cream
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Rhubarb Roundup (part 3)

IMG_1693This past weekend I tried two things rhubarb.

First on Saturday, which was a gloriously warm day, I had a Campari and soda.  Did you know Campari has rhubarb in it ?  Campari is considered a bitter and is an acquired taste but on a warm summer (or spring) day nothing beats sitting on the back porch with a little Campari over ice and a good portion of soda water while  picturing yourself  sitting at some little outdoor restaurant in Italy wiling away the afternoon. You can make other drinks with Campari like the Negroni, which usually elicits strong opinions–love or HATE!

My second encounter with rhubarb was rhubarb ice cream for Sunday’s family dinner.  The recipe was super easy and with my Cusinart ice cream maker I had creamy rhubarb ice cream in no time.  But you can’t just serve rhubarb ice cream by itself because some in my family dislike it as much as they dislike purple onions and meatloaf.

I decided to make a Barefoot Contessa Lemon pound cake but instead of using full fat yogurt, which the recipe called for, I thought I would try using the non-fat Greek yogurt I always have in my fridge.  I wasn’t as concerned about the fat content as the ice cream had plenty of whipping cream, as I was not having to go to the store.  The recipe called for vegetable oil, which I rarely use, and when I measured it out I thought it smelled funny but I ignored my gut and carried on.  Well, my oil was rancid and the pound cake tasted terrible (though Jack ate several slices and Buster and the chickens liked it). Always follow your gut; if you think it smells or looks bad, save yourself the heartache (maybe a little dramatic) and don’t use it.  I think the non-fat yogurt also made it a bit tough.

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Earlier in the week Megan and I had a  conversation about whether angel food cake would be good served with rhubarb compote (which it would)  and I decided it would also be delicious with rhubarb ice cream.  I found the Lemon Angel Food Cake recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa books and gave it a try. The cake turned out perfect! Light and airy and just a little lemony, which was the perfect accompaniment to the rhubarb ice cream–not to mention the Rick Bayless Paella for 6–but that’s another post.

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Rhubarb Ice Cream    

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Every  Which Way With Rhubarb by Amanda Brannon

1 pound rhubarb, finely chopped

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the rhubarb in a shallow baking dish along with the sugar and the lemon juice. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Let it cool slightly. Pour the rhubarb into a food processor and process until you have a smooth puree. Pour into a container, cover and transfer to the refrigerator and chill. Stir the vanilla and cream into the rhubarb puree, pour into an ice cream maker and churn until the mixture has the consistency of soft whipped cream.  Freeze for a minimum of two hours or until the ice cream is firm enough to serve.

Rhubarb ice cream and Lemon Angel Food cake!

Rhubarb ice cream and Lemon Angel Food cake!

Rhubarb Roundup (part 1)

cherry blossoms

Spring has finally arrived here in the Boston area! It was a cold and snowy winter, but the sunshine, warmth, blossoms, and leaves have finally arrived. So has the rhubarb.

Here in Cambridge, I’ve had my eyes open for rhubarb at the various grocery stores, but have been disappointed by either its absence or its pallor. I’ve also been disappointed by the fact that I have to buy it at all, since last spring I could just have my mom cut me a pound…or ten (check out the photo below). Such is the price of city living.

rhubarb plant

However, I was able to find some lovely, vibrantly-hued rhubarb at Market Basket this past weekend. My next task was to figure out what to make. This was a challenge not for a lack of recipes, but precisely because there are so many good ones out there! I spent an hour (or so…) googling through recipes. Instead of replicating this search each spring season, I thought I’d take the time to organize and post them here.

These recipes fall into two basic categories — “made by one of us,” or “not yet made by one of us, but maybe next weekend.”

Made by one of us:

rhubarb upside down cake – made this several times, it is a great way to show off really red stalks.

lemon buttermilk rhubarb bundt cake – made this several times, it has a pleasantly tart flavor from the lemon, and I like it more with just powdered sugar instead of with a glaze. This is what I ended up making, by the way! It is an easy one to bring into work.

rhubarb pie with orange zest — this is my favorite pie ever.

rhubarb syrup with rosewater – it turns out I’m not the biggest rosewater fan. If you like it, you should make this, or just use a tiny amount.

rhubarb crisp a la mode with strawberry sauce  Stephanie said, “Very tasty–first rhubarb recipe I tried that I liked and wanted to make it again. Has white pepper in it which adds a nice twist.”

vanilla-roasted rhubarb and strawberries – Stephanie made this and said it was delicious, but I didn’t get to try it — this will probably be my next attempt!

rhubarb and raspberry crostata – Steph made this, I did get to try it, and will thusly vouch for its deliciousness.

rustic rhubarb tarts with corn flour – Deb Perelman’s tweaks to Kim Boyce’s recipe from (the amazing) Good to the Grain. The tender dough breaks apart very easily — make sure to have plenty of all-purpose flour on the counter and your hands. Now that I’ve tried the compote with a vanilla bean, I’d like to try the original version with hibiscus.

Not yet:

rhubarb shortcakes 

rhubarb snacking cake

rhubarb hamantaschen from Deb Perelman’s own amazing book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (this isn’t the link to her blog here, though — and again, I haven’t tried this, but thought I’d link with that caveat and the plug that if you buy Deb’s cookbook, you won’t regret it!).

rhubarb salad with goat cheese

simple baked rhubarb 

lemon buttermilk rhubarb bundt cake

And yes, this is just part 1. Stephanie and I had so many rhubarb recipes to share, they couldn’t all be rounded up in one attempt.  Here’s to many more iterations of sweet (and savory) rhubarb creations! -Megan