7.15.2020

RED CURRANT MARGARITAS // elspeth


A neighbor reached out the other day about a bumper crop of currants. We started corresponding because of my curiosity about a bitter orange tree growing in her garden, and the other day she emailed about something new: groseilles. Groseilles are red currants, native to northern and western Europe. I've seen them at farmers markets, but they're usually expensive, and I've never had enough to experiment.

They're tart! So tart. Sally describes them as "sour and seedy," which is about as appealing as it gets. We read up on how people use them, and the consensus seems to be jelly. But frankly, I hate jelly. All that fruit boiled down into a concoction with almost no substance. It pains me.

Around that time I remembered the margaritas my dad makes with a prickly pear cactus syrup his friend R.P. sends from Texas. The syrup is a gorgeous vibrant purpley-pink, and a perfect balance of tart-sweet. I wondered: could we make an equally beautiful syrup from currants?


We could indeed. We boiled the currants down with a little bit of water, left them overnight to drain through a strainer, and simmered the juice with a bit of sugar. Eventually it formed a thick, beautiful pink syrup. I called my dad for the prickly pear margarita recipe, and we subbed in the currant syrup. The drinks were absolutely delightful: hot pink, perfectly tart, and not too sweet.

I've seen what I think are currants growing wild along the Herring River in Wellfleet—I'm going back this week to inspect—and cultivated currants at some farmers markets. If you want a red currant margarita in your life, well, now's the time. Keep your eyes peeled, and happy mixing.

RED CURRANT MARGARITAS

We first tried these out on my father-in-law's birthday. I like to mix them up in a pitcher, but you can also make them one by one. Be sure to serve them in a clear cup so that you can admire the color!

1 part tequila (we used Espolón)
1 part lime juice
1 part currant syrup
1/2 part Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher. Salt the rim of your glasses if you like, add ice, and pour into individual cups.

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