Friday, July 28, 2017

Spiking Foraged Grapes - Marriage of Experiences

There's nothing better than a tart, punchy cocktail on a summer day. It's the best when you have a killer infusion ready and waiting. Especially, when it's inspired by creative friends & powered by an ingredient you gathered.

Sour Cherry Bounce Riff -
Green Mustang Grapes, Vermouth & Dry Caramelized Sugar

Fairly new to the world of foraging, I'm often seeking guidance from experienced friends. I was fortunate enough to join Misti Norris and Brock Middleton in Dallas for a walk in the woods. These creative chefs have been spinning webs of creative dishes with wild ingredients for some time. Who better to go with?

Brock Middleton & A Tree Covered in Mustang Grape Vines 

We didn't find much to take home that day, but we did come upon a series of trees covered with mustang grape vines. At the time, the grapes were green and crazy tart. We grabbed some because we could definitely make something happen.

Local Wild Grapes

After a little time in and out of the fridges in Dallas, it was time to celebrate our find at home. I sat at the kitchen table crunching a few wondering about the best way to temper the astringency. Then I remembered when my friend Peter shared his homemade sour cherry bounce with me years ago. So delicious! A bounce is simply a complex spirit, sugar and sour cherries. It's a wonderful way to transform the excess of summer into a winter warmer. So why not transform the green of spring into a refreshing summer? 

Green Mustang Grapes + Meat Tenderizer

Unripe grapes are quite dense. I wanted to keep them whole, but I was worried that there would be trouble with a short term infusion. Punching them with holes would help guarantee success, but the common pointy objects for puncturing all these grapes would take forever. An old school meat tenderizer solved that problem.

Dry Caramelized Sugar Cloud in Vermouth with Mustang Grapes

Decisions on the remaining ingredients weren't hard to come up with. A dry vermouth for a green grape play made all the sense in the world. For the sugar, there was a quart of dry caramelized sugar that was waiting thanks to Stella. Those notes add another level of complexity that follows the line of a typical bounce leveraging the depth of brandy.

Rum + Brown Sugar + Green Mustang Grapes

At the end of the day, we all create based on life experiences. We craft compilations of what we've learned from people who have shared their wealth of knowledge with us. Memory elements harmonized into a single experience with the intent to be an inception for another adventurer. The inspired to inspire spiral upwards forever progressing the art. Or maybe we just made a neat summer drink to try out? Hmm...

As always, please share your discoveries to keep the ideas bouncing.

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