Where there is a woman, there is magic - a perfect quote by Ntozake Shange to start today’s post, where we’re celebrating all the women in our lives ahead of International Women’s Day. I’m lucky enough to have 5 amazing women creating magic in my life - my daughter, my wife, my sister, my mother, and even my mother-in-law. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the women in my life. I’m incredibly thankful for that.
To celebrate the incredible impact that the women in our lives have on us, we’ll make a delicious and light, low-abv cocktail with strawberries, Lillet Rose, and a zero-waste approach. We made a cocktail with a similar flavor profile for last year’s Valentine’s Day episode, using ricotta-washed Lillet Blanc, strawberry shrub, and macarons filled with ricotta and strawberries, but today we’re making a cocktail I’m calling the Strawberry Yogurt.
The base will be Lillet Rose aperitif wine, and we’ll get the milky richness with a homemade strawberry cordial with whey and lactic acid, which will pair nicely with a milk cracker garnish that will be topped with jam made from leftover strawberries. We’ll also add a few drops of rose water and saline solution and top it with a splash of soda water.
Lactic acid is what gives yogurt its distinct tangy flavor. It's also present when preserving fresh vegetables or fruits with fermentation, which is what we used for the Lacto Fermented Smoky Orange Juice for a twist on the Blood and Sand. We’ll use this ingredient to recreate the yogurt flavor with today’s delicious cocktail, and I’ll show you how it’s done, starting with the cordial. It’s Cocktail Time!
● 200g frozen strawberries
● 200g whey
● 13g lactic acid
● 1g ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
● 0.8g pectinex
● 101g sugar*
I’ll first heat up the whey so that it will thaw out the strawberries as we add them to a blender, along with the ascorbic acid to prevent oxidation (a bit of lemon juice will work too). I went for homegrown strawberries and when they’re in season we have so many that we always place some in the freezer for smoothies or desserts, but if your supermarket has flavorful fresh strawberries you can use those as well.
So now blend to pulverize the strawberries completely, then add the pectinex and lactic acid powder and blend again. Pectinex will help separate the solids, making it possible to filter out a clear liquid, and the lactic acid will provide a silky, almost creamy mouthfeel. This can tame down the acetic or vinegar acid, which is why it is sometimes added to shrubs.
Leave your mixture to sit for 20 minutes and you’ll see the separation happening, then filter through a rinsed coffee filter. The first liquid will not be as clear so just refilter that part once you see clear liquid coming through. Once everything is filtered, remember to place the leftover strawberry pureé on the side for later, then weigh your strained yield and add sugar accordingly. We need to add 30g of sugar for every 100g of the liquid. I ended up with 337g so I’m adding 101g of sugar.
Dissolve the sugar, bottle the cordial and it’s ready to be used. It's already delicious but the full flavors will really develop after a day or so. Meanwhile let’s move on to the garnish - milk crackers.
● 200g milk
● 40g glucose syrup
Add both ingredients to a saucepan on medium heat, stir to dissolve and heat up to 80°C (175°F), then take it off the heat and froth it up with a milk frother or an immersion blender. When it’s nice and foamy, wait for 30 seconds so it settles a bit, and then scoop out the froth and place it evenly on a baking paper - I find a reusable silicone version works best. Finally place the tray in a preheated oven set to 75°C (165°F) with the fan turned on and wait for milk to evaporate. For me it took around 3 hours.
Keep your eyes on the crackers and once you see the milk has evaporated, your Milk Crackers are done. Wait for them to completely cool off before separating them from the surface and breaking them into bite-sized chunks that will fit on top of the glass. You can store this delicious snack in an airtight container and consume it within a few days, but to make them even tastier we’ll make a jam from the leftover strawberry pureé.
● Leftover Strawberry Purée
● 25% in weight of sugar
● 2% in weight of salt
● 1.5% in weight of pectin powder
Start by weighing how much of the strawberry purée we’re left with. To that we will add 25% or a quarter of that weight in sugar, followed with 2% of salt and lastly 1.5% of pectin powder. Pectin is a soluble gelatinous polysaccharide which is present in ripe fruits and is used as a setting agent in jams and jellies, but if you don’t have any at hand the jam will still turn out great.
Give everything a stir for about a minute to dissolve everything, then transfer to a piping bag, which will make it easier to carefully apply the jam later. Place the bag in the fridge and once it cools down we’re good to go. I know this might seem like a lot of work, and I think the end result will be well worth it, but even so, a nice bouquet of flowers is always a good idea. Now let’s make the Strawberry Yogurt Cocktail!
Strawberry Yogurt Cocktail
● 30mL (1oz) Strawberry Cordial
● 45mL (1.5oz) Lillet Rose
● 4 drops rose water
● 2 drops saline solution
● Milk Cracker
● Strawberry Jam
Place a Nick & Nora glass in the freezer and chill your mixing glass before adding the ingredients, starting with our homemade cordial. If you want to make something non-alcoholic just mix this with soda water, but we’re mixing it with Lillet Rose - don’t forget to put this wine-based aperitif in the fridge after opening. Next add the rose water and saline solution, followed by plenty of ice and stir to chill and dilute. About 15-20 seconds should be enough.
Strain your cocktail into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and add a splash of equally chilled soda water. Now for the garnish, place a milk cracker on top of the glass and finish it with 3 drops of our Strawberry Jam. Isn’t this better than wasting the strawberries? This cocktail goes out to all the women around the world - you make the world go round! Thank you and cheers!
The smell greets you with the aroma of wine and berries, which gets through the milkiness of the garnish. Even with a few bubbles from the soda water the cocktail is pleasantly creamy and smooth. It’s almost like you’re eating a strawberry yogurt with rose water providing a subtle floral note as well. Taking a bite of the garnish you get nutty notes of evaporated milk that instantly melts in your mouth. All in all, a wonderful culinary experience.
If you’re looking for a way to show a special lady you’re thankful for the impact she has on your life - make her this cocktail. But between you and me - I really love how this cocktail turned out, so I’d love for everyone to give it a try. Let me know if you do and I’ll see you next week. Cheers!