Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Kumquat-Pink Peppercorn Spritzer

I've been having a lot of wintertime meals lately. Mushroom barley soup, root vegetable pancakes, piles of whole wheat pasta. Warm and hearty, and perfect for this dank and rainy season. But at the same time: a whole lot of brown.

And so, when I saw this bright bevy on TheKitchn, I was instantly smitten. Orange! And pink! All piquant flavors and bubbly brightness, perfect for cutting through the wintertime mud.

The simple pink peppercorn-infused syrup comes together in just a couple of minutes, and a handful of kumquats can be sliced up while it cools. Add seltzer, and that's it. Easy! I had a few spoonfuls of pink peppercorns left over from a recent Turkish dinner party, and picked up a handful of in-season kumquats from the store (if you haven't tried these tiny wintertime fruits, with their confusing sweet-peel/sour-fruit dynamic, I highly recommend you check them out).

I brought this drink to a neighborhood happy hour party, and it was a huge hit (both as a punchy mocktail on its own and combined with a hit of gin). It's sweet but not too sweet, and with a bright sour hit from the kumquats and an addictive spicy note from the pink peppercorns. It's the perfect tonic for the wintertime browns.

And, if you'd like another bit of wintertime color, I recently produced a radio story on a local fishing-shanty-inspired art festival in Minnesota. On a frozen lake. It took me several hours to regain feeling in my toes, but it was worth it. You can check it out over at NPR.

Kumquat-Pink Peppercorn Spritzer

adapted from The Kitchn
serves ~10

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
scant Tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed (you can just do this with your fingers)
~24 kumquats
2 liters seltzers

Place the sugar, water, and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for one minute, then turn off the heat and let cool (you can move to the fridge when it's cool enough). This step can be done in advance.

While the syrup is cooling, thinly slice the kumquats, flicking/squeezing out the seeds (they're fairly edible, so no worries if you don't get them all, but in general people don't like seeds in their beverages). Place the sliced kumquats in a large pitcher (or divide between three quart jars). Pour a little of the cooled syrup over them, and muddle with a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to smush the kumquat slices and release their oils and juices.

1 comment:

  1. The drink recipe looks great, but the real reason I had to comment is to tell you I took my family to see the Art Shanty Project a couple of weeks ago and we all loved it...glad you also enjoyed that frigid taste of Minnesota art!