Quite often an idea can strike at the most inopportune time. It nags at you and you try to suppress it because this is the day that you’re supposed to do laundry, prepare and photograph some chocolate-based recipes for next week’s blog posts and catch up on neglected errands.
But sometimes you have to stop for a minute and recognize that the idea is a good one. And with a weekend jam-packed with activities and football, you surrender quite willingly because there literally is no other time than the present. You begin to tick the ingredients off one-by-one in your memorized inventory of pantry ingredients, because surely there will be something missing that will stop this freight train from going any further.
The planets must be in alignment.
Within minutes, simple syrup spiked with tangerine zest is under way and the juicer is on stand-by. A small bottle of vanilla sugar made with the idea that nothing should go to waste is pulled out of the recesses of the spice cabinet and poured onto a plate; one whiff and you know the little bit of heaven that is in that bottle. Last summer’s purchase of orange and vanilla vodkas for a cocktail recipe yet untried smile at you from the liquor cabinet even though your grasp of their necks is rather forceful. You run a wedge of tangerine along the rim of crystal and dip it into the sugar while the stainless steel shaker willing accepts everything you pour into its wide open mouth. The familiar click-clack of ice cubes against the shaker builds even greater anticipation.
At last the liquid meets the crystal, and you become acquainted with them. Instant friends.
This martini smells like a Creamsicle and if you use high-quality vanilla and orange vodkas, it will taste like one too.
1/3 cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
Splash of orange vodka
3 tablespoons of tangerine-infused simple syrup
Wedges of fresh tangerine
Run a wedge of tangerine along the rims of 2 martini glasses. Dip into vanilla sugar. Set aside.
Pour the tangerine juice, vodkas and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake and pour into sugared glasses.
To make the tangerine-infused simple syrup add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a medium sauce pan. Add the zest of approximately 4 tangerines. Allow sugar to dissolve over medium heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat, pour syrup into a jar and allow to cool. If tightly covered and kept in the refrigerator, the simple syrup will last for a few weeks.
Vanilla sugar needs to be made ahead of time by placing a scraped vanilla bean into a tightly sealed container of granulated sugar. The vanilla flavor and aroma will perfume the sugar within a week or two.