It’s winter and…. my taste buds are frozen! What is a person to do? It’s cold outside, my taste buds are flat from the freezing weather. What kind of drinks will wake up the palate and those of my guests?
Isn’t it ironic that the best citrus comes out in the wintertime? Why is that? Well, if you live up here in the northeast, you’d know that the release date for most fresh citrus is in the depth of the winter. To perk up the palate! And what better way to perk up the palate then the roasted citrus route.
I’m pretty sure that your bar or restaurant carries at least four kinds of citrus: oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes. You know what I’m talking about here. If you have a culinary graduate on your kitchen staff, they may enter some blood oranges or tangerines to the mix of flavors.
As any seasoned food and beverage professional knows, the best way to running a successful business is to have turn-over of the citrus in the walk-in. You should be going through the cases of citrus daily to ensure freshness. If a piece of citrus goes bad in the walk-in, the other fragile fruits and vegetables will follow in short order, so make sure you rotate your citrus, every single day!
But what to do with the mostly fine parts of that orange or lemon or grapefruit? Do I throw them away? NO WAY!
There is this marvelous invention that the chefs will never let out of their sight, so don’t ask them! It’s a kitchen knife. You should own your own knife, don’t ask to borrow theirs!
- Cut the citrus fruits into manageable pieces and place them on a sheet of parchment paper which is on a sheet tray.
- Sprinkle the citrus with sugar, then wet them down with Angostura.
- Set your oven temperature to 300 and roast the citrus until it is nice and caramelized. This should take no more than an hour.
- Cool and juice the roasted citrus fruits.
- Use in cocktails like the following.
Gin and (Roasted) Juice
- 4 oz. Botanical Gin (the herbal tasting ones work best here, London Dry does not work as well)
- 6 oz. Roasted Citrus Juice
- 1 oz. Pickett’s Ginger Syrup (I used the Spicy)
- Splash of seltzer
- Lemon Bitters (I used Fee Brothers)
- Fill Mixing vessel with ice
- Add the liquid ingredients *except for the seltzer* to the ice filled mixing vessel
- Stir until well chilled
- Pour into two Coupes that are prechilled
- Add a splash of seltzer
- Dot with Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters
Frosty Citrus Punch
- 4 oz. Rum- I used a Jamaican rum- funky flavors at work here
- 8 oz. Roasted Citrus Juice
- 6 oz. Ginger Beer Soda- Again, I use Pickett’s
- 4 shakes of Cardamom Bitters- I use Fee Brothers
- Rounds of oranges and lemons and grapefruit
- Add all the liquid Ingredients (except for the ginger beer) to a large vessel
- Mix well
- Then add the ginger beer soda
- Mix again
- Dot with Cardamom Bitters
- Serve in Collins glasses with ice
A Vodka Drink – something I hardly do.
- 2 oz. Smirnoff Vodka
- 4 oz. Roasted Citrus Juice
- Coconut Water Ice-yes, as it sounds- pour coconut water into an ice tray and freeze!
- Lime Bitters
- Add Coconut water ice to a Double Old Fashioned
- Pour Vodka over
- Top with Roasted Citrus Juice
- Stir well
- Dot with Lime Bitters- Again, Fee Brothers
A Bourbon Drink with Citrus
Pretty easy this one…
- 2 oz. of your favorite Bourbon- I used Barrell
- One large Ice Cube
- Splash of simple
- Splash of Roasted Citrus
- Whiskey Barrel Bitters *Fee Brothers*
- Pre-Chill a Double Old-Fashioned glass
- Add a large ice cube to the chilled glass
- Pour Over 2 oz. of your bourbon whiskey
- Add a Splash of the Roasted Citrus Juice
- Dot with the Fee Brothers-or your choice, Whiskey Barrel Bitters
The last cocktail that I recommend for this time of the year makes the demand for savory even more pronounced. How? I’d go back to basics. Tomatoes are not really tomatoes until the summer. But what if I taught you a method for making a tomato and vodka drink that made your winter tomatoes as savor and delicious as those in the summer?
Roasting them, that’s how. And by using the correct kind of tomato! This would be the plum tomato. Ask your chef to order you a case of plum tomatoes. Ripen them in paper bags for a couple days. Slice them in half and roast them, low and slow for two hours at 250. Puree the tomatoes and add a cup of vodka to the mix. Let marinate for a couple days in the walk-in, well-sealed to prevent flavor reversion. When you are making a Bloody Mary, substitute this oven roasted tomato instead of your usual canned tomato juice.
I know you will taste the difference!
Askew Bloody Mary
- 4 oz. Oven Roasted Tomato juice
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- Celery salt
- 4 oz. Vodka of your choice
- 1 oz. carrot juice
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- Combine the ingredients into a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
- Shake hard to combine
- Pour into two Collins glasses with fresh ice
- Garnish with a whole fried chicken and a cut up watermelon