Straining the farmers market fruit and herbs used to make this cocktail makes this drink much more refined than a standard mojito, which sommelier Todd Thrasher says "has too much texture."
Make Ahead: The strawberry-rhubarb mixture needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours, then strained carefully. Leftover mixture can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, but not frozen.
- For the strawberry-basil-rhubarb mixture
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
- 6 stalks rhubarb, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 15 purple basil leaves (may substitute Italian basil)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons (2 ounces)
- For the drink
- 2 ounces Lillet Blanc
- 1 ounce gin, preferably Hendrick's
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces strawberry-basil-rhubarb mixture (see above)
- Basil leaves, for garnish
For the strawberry-basil-rhubarb mixture: Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, basil, sugar and lemon juice in a deep container (preferably a large fat-separator cup). Use your hands to squish the ingredients together; do not puree in a blender or food processor, because the seeds will cause the mixture to become bitter. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours; the pulp will rise to the top and the juices will collect on the bottom.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, being careful not to force any pulp through. Discard the pulp. You should have 1 1/2 cups of strained liquid. Reserve 4 ounces and refrigerate the remaining strained mixture for another use; it will last for 3 to 4 days.
For the drink: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the Lillet Blanc, gin, lemon juice and the 4 ounces of strawberry-basil-rhubarb mixture; stir well, then divide among cocktail (martini) glasses.
Adapted from Todd Thrasher of PX and Restaurant Eve in Alexandria.
Tested by Todd Thrasher.
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