port-soaked strawberry spritzes | symbiosis

I couldn’t get my act together to post a Fourth of July-inspired cocktail recipe for you. I simply didn’t have the forethought to plan out a celebratory and timely, red-white-and-blue cocktail. I did, however, make something seasonally sweet and slightly bitter, albeit slightly patriotic in its presentation. It’s all about that balance.

Let’s first take a moment and talk about booze-soaked fruit. As I type this post, I currently have six different fruity and boozy infusions sitting on my kitchen counter. Ten, if you include the kombucha in its secondary fermentation state. Why the urge to take something already delicious in its current form, especially the seasonal treats we are all soaking up right now, and add even more dimension, complexity, and {the best part} longevity?

Perhaps it’s the aspect of preserving something and extending its life and flavor, akin to taking a current mood and carving it into a permanent memory. A means of capturing life. Booze extends the life of fruits, and, in turn, the fruit imbues its aromas and flavors into something that lets it live a little longer.

Fruit, immortalized. Those clever, little things.

port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora

Booze and fruit have an efficient, symbiotic relationship together. Even lately, I’ve found myself tossing around questions like, “Do my current actions align with my future goals?” and “How can I use my current life situation to enable me to take the next step?” Just after I woke up this morning, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a NYT piece on monotasking {thanks, Sherrie!}. I think many of us are seeing that multitasking actually results in less fulfilling work, fewer completed tasks, and more overwhelm and exhaustion.

I can definitely relate.

There was one point yesterday where I actually spun around in circles trying to remember what I was even doing in the basement after leaving my computer screen moments prior. I had about 34 browsers up on my computer, and I was trying to code photos for the website, while brainstorming another recipe, while editing photos from earlier in the day, while Skyping with my sister, while keeping the cat off my desk, while scarfing down a forgotten, slightly stale sandwich, while checking Instagram, while …

… while not getting much actual work done at all.

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I know I’m not alone here, but let’s temporarily get back to those boozy, fruity situations. I’ve been fixated on spritzes, since summer’s arrival. They’re fizzy and generally light, but they also swing toward the bitter side of the flavor spectrum. A classic spritz is Aperol, Prosecco, sparkling water, and an orange slice, served in a wine glass on the rocks. That citrus-y, bright orange, bubbly cocktail wins me over poolside and garden-side every. single. time.

I decided to take seasonally sweet strawberries and soak them in ruby port for an afternoon, muddling them after their soak and adding them to a bitter liqueur from St. George Spirits, Bruto Americano. The spirit is similar to Campari, with its woodsy, herbaceous, citrus-driven notes. It marries perfectly with the sweet, summer strawberries. Again, two opposing components – sweet and bitter – that result in refreshing balance. I’ll be sharing more spritz iterations over the next few weeks, like the crushed blackberry and sage spritz we enjoyed this past 4th of July weekend.

Alright. Let’s drench some summer strawberries with rich, ruby port!


ruby port-soaked strawberries


  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 ounces ruby port {I used Fonseca Bin 27 Ruby Port}
  • 1 ounce grade B maple syrup
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sliced strawberries, ruby port, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and orange zest.
  2. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring intermittently. You may even let it sit overnight in the fridge.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • If you don’t have port on hand, you most likely have balsamic vinegar. In that case, substitute balsamic vinegar here. The flavors swap out just perfectly. Heck, you can even use blackberry liqueur here, too. I’d go with Leopold Bros. Rocky Mountain Blackberry, if you can get it.
  • Pour any leftover port-soaked strawberries over yogurt, on top of ice cream, or into a coconut milk-based popsicle. They’re also great mixed into granola or eaten by the spoonful {or sloppy handful} without any additional accoutrements.

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There’s another advantage to sipping on slightly bitter tipples: you take your time enjoying them. They’re not something you down quickly. They are more of a contemplative summer drink. I’ll have to find some more strawberries to freeze for the cooler months. It’s still considered seasonal drinking, if you’ve taken the time to preserve produce, when it is plentiful and in its prime, right?

So right.

This recipe is actually a riff on the classic Americano cocktail, which is comprised of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda. I subbed Bruto Americano for the Campari, but Campari works just fine, if that’s what you have on hand. I was tempted to add a splash of Prosecco to the mix, but the balance was just about perfect, as it was.


ruby port-soaked strawberry spritzes


  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the port-soaked strawberries well.
  2. Add the Bruto Americano and sweet vermouth. Fill with ice and shake hard.
  3. Double-strain into a cocktail glass prepped with a star anise ice cube and finish with soda.
  4. Cheers!!
  • I know, I’ve gone a little nuts using the star anise-studded ice cubes, but a} they are just gorgeous, and b} they infuse cocktails with just the right of complementary anise notes. Just add few star anise pods to a large-cube ice tray and freeze overnight. For extra clarity in the ice cubes, fill trays with distilled water. I’m fine with a little cloudiness, though.

This morning, immediately putting down my phone after reading the Times article, I wandered into what we call our “red room.” It’s my place to meditate. There aren’t any chairs or sofas in this red-walled room, lined with four tall bookshelves. It’s quiet, peaceful, and perfect for stretching and meditating. I did just those very things, and I vowed to accomplish and enjoy each of my tasks today, one step at a time.

And then I walked outside, turned on the sprinklers, and sipped my coffee, as I watched the water drift back and forth across the lawn. Without distraction. Without my phone. With full appreciation for the small happenings in the garden.

Have a beautiful rest of your day and cheers to mindfully enjoying more spritzes!! Cheers!

Jayme

 

 

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10 thoughts on “port-soaked strawberry spritzes | symbiosis

    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Thanks so much! I can’t stop it with the strawberries, and I’m okay with that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and I just pinned your baked banana nut butter flaxseed oat pancakes. I could eat those for dinner!

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  1. daryleone

    Grade B maple syrup was last known to exist in Vermont, but was outlawed earlier this sugarin’ season. Grade B is now known as “Grade A Dark with Robust Taste,” a description created by someone who is paid by the word.
    Of course you could freeze some strawberries for later, or you could hand-pack a hot, clean pint Mason jar with halved strawberries, heat the maple syrup up to at least 185 degrees F., pour it over the berries, fix the lid, and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath. The berries will keep until you find yourself wandering around during the cooler months with a bottle of port in your hand.

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    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Already have some strawberries in the freezer for just the occasion. Good minds think alike!! I’ll have to research more on the grade B maple syrup mention. Interesting. Another means of misleading. And I’m laughing because I could so see myself “wandering around during the cooler months with a bottle of port in {my} hand”!! Luckily, I’ll have said berries nearby.

      Cheers!!

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      Reply
      1. daryleone

        As you probably know, Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state in America. Some operations are huge, drawing thousands of gallons of sap every minute. That sap is run through a reverse-osmosis rig to concentrate the sugar in the sap before it gets to the evaporator. These big operators can produce hundreds of gallons of finished syrup an hour. Maple syrup labeled “B” was produced before 2016. Rest assured that syrup doesn’t really go bad, even if you see a bit of mold floating. Skim it and re-heat the batch to about 185 degrees F., and it is as good as new. Maple syrup is best kept refrigerated and warmed up while the waffles are baking.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim Danks

    This drink looks amazing, though I have never heard of Bruto Americano before, I don’t think I can get it in Australia. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for it.

    What other spirit could you use as a substitute in this drink?

    Thanks!
    Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Thanks so much, Kim! Bruto Americano is actually new-to-me, as well. It is made domestically by St. George Spirits out of California. I hope it makes it your way, eventually. There are SO many enticing spirits made in Australia that never make it here, specialty stickies and the like. You can substitute Campari for the Bruto just fine.

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