passionate valentine martini
Let me preface the post by saying what you all already know. I am no mixologist. (If you’re looking for a man who knows his spirits, that would be Greg, affectionately known as Rufus. He and wife Katherine would welcome you with open arms if you’d like to pay them a visit.) And then there’s my blogging buddy Smidge (who has a perfectly beautiful blog!) – Smidge published a post today of a gorgeous blood orange martini. Completely out of my league, I go barreling forward! I don’t know a lot about drinks, but I do know what my mouth likes, and my mouth loves this.
We have a favorite restaurant in Portland. Nuevo-Peruvian, Andinas. They offer a sumptuous menu of foods you won’t find prepared quite like this anywhere, outside Peru; theirs is a diverse menu, reflecting the diverse cuisine of a country that is on the sea, in the Andean mountains, and on the wide high planes. Andinas offers something for every appetite and every palate. The walls there are painted in russets, oranges, mahogany and deep purples; hung from them are gorgeous photographs of Peruvians in brilliantly woven textiles, large hats, heart-splitting smiles! It’s noisy. It smells divine. Service is wonderful. And there’s this drink that I think I come close to dreaming about. It’s name is sacsayhuamán. Shall I give you a minute while you try to pronounce it? Or shall I just tell you everyone calls it Sexy Woman, which comes awfully close.
Pureed Passion Fruit ~ Habañero-infused Vodka ~ Sugared Rim
I’m afraid that’s all I know about it…apart from the fact that it manages, like no drink I’ve ever had, to be slightly sweet, slightly tart, a teeny bit h o t, very cold and very sexy. Do you ever shudder with delight over the taste of something? (Please tell me I’m not alone in that!) So it seemed right that I play with it a bit at home, tweak it just slightly to make it even prettier and just the thing to be sipped with your valentine.
Several years ago we went on a hunt for pureed passion fruit. I checked every local market before going on-line. We found several sources, but from what we could tell they all manage to be quite expensive. (That is, if you think $75 dollars is too much to pay for shipping!) But on a recent trip to a local market, I found the whole fresh passion fruits all snuggled up against the papayas and star fruits. I picked up a slew of them and brought them home to ripen. They’re odd things…ripe when they turn from a beautiful smooth greenish-purple to a deeply wrinkled, dried-up (or so it seems) purple handball. These are on their way, but not yet ready.
When they’re ripe, you open them up and find it’s mostly seed in there, with a little pulp, but a perfume escapes that’s so floral and exquisite you want to slurp it on the spot, no spoon.
Scoop out the contents and push through a sieve, holes small enough to hold the seeds back, large enough to let the pulp and juices through. It’s worth working hard to get every delicious bit.
Then, the tweak, add the deep red of blood oranges and you’ll have most of what you need for a ~
Passion Fruit & Blood Orange Martini
1/3 cup (3 ounces) passion fruit pulp
1/3 cup pureed blood orange segments (they add such gorgeous color, as you can see)
1/3 cup (3 ounces) juice from blood oranges
Juice of one lime
3 ounces habañero infused vodka
3 ounces simple syrup *
Mix together, strain (for citrus pulp). Shake with ice to chill. Strain into glasses rimmed with superfine sugar. Drape or float an orchid blossom if you like. (And perhaps then you’ll want to slip your shoes off under the table.)
This recipe makes enough for two cocktails, with the possibility of a third, to be shared.
* simple syrup is simply equal parts water and sugar, brought to a boil, sugar completely dissolved, liquid turned clear. Pour into a clean jar and refrigerate.