One of my favorite things about today’s cocktail culture is the spirit of experimentation. People are making syrups, infusions, tinctures, you name it, with new and wildly inventive combinations of flavors. Stuff I would never in a million years to think to add to a drink is showing up in recipes that sound not only delicious, but also so obvious that IÂ wonder why IÂ never thought of it myself. Carrot is one of those: a sweet, vegetal flavor with a gorgeous orange color. Here’s my first crack at a carrot brunch cocktail: a Carrot Ginger Fizz.Â â€“ Andrew
Illustration byÂ Shauna LynnÂ for Oh So Beautiful Paper
1 1/2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Carrot Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
Shake the gin, carrot syrup, lime juice, and Aperol in a cocktail shaker filled 2/3 with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh herbs (we used mint and cilantro from our garden.) Enjoy!
To make the carrot syrup, combine a cup of water and two cups of white sugar in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning the sugar. Add a cup of shredded carrots and simmer the mix for 10-15 minutes, then cover and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Strain out the carrot shreds and bottle the carrot syrup. Keep the syrup refrigerated. (I used white sugar, instead of my usually preferred raw sugar, to preserve the carrot’s orange color.) You could also try combining a cup of carrot juice with two cups of sugar over low heat until the sugar is melted, but the end result would be pretty much the same.
The Carrot-Ginger Fizz is rich and complex, with lots of earthy botanical flavors from the gin and the carrot syrup, but it’s still light and sweet and fizzily playful. You can definitely taste the carrot on this drink’s finish, but it’ doesn’t dominate this drink in a gimmicky way; instead, it blends nicely with the gin and citrus for a nice savory-sweet profile. The Aperol, a gently bitter and orange flavored Italian amaro, adds a nice touch of bitterness to balance the carrot’s sweetness while the ginger beer adds just a bit of bite. And bubbles. Don’t forget the bubbles.
Ok. I’m off to see what else I can do with this carrot syrup.
(Donâ€™t forget to follow us onÂ Instagram, where weâ€™ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper