Updated: Mar 9, 2019
It was right after valentines day, a weekend that has sparked a new tradition for Melody and I...to purchase loads of discounted heart-shaped candy and watch a horror movie.
Honestly roaming the ales of a drugstore and buying extremely discounted candy after a holiday is very satisfying. Merely 24hrs after the holiday the market value of that particular item drops substantially, making it actually worth buying.
Surprisingly though this year I had to go to three different stores before I found what I was looking for. I couldn’t believe that on February 15 all stores switched to Easter….Easter! Finally on my third attempt, because I was a woman on a mission, I stumbled upon a sorry display of heart-shaped candy and bought a whole load. I had to stop myself from overdoing it to an extreme, we didn’t need to instantly develop cavities.
To accompany our overly red snacks I needed an overly red drink. I wanted to create some sort of Valentine’s Day cocktail, Strawberry-Basil Champagne.
Champagne with Strawberry-Basil Ice.
For Strawberry Ice
1 C Frozen Strawberries
1 C Water
¼ Tsp Vanilla
⅛ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
For Basil Ice
⅓ C Water
10 Basil Leaves
½ Tsp Sugar
¼ C Frozen Strawberry Ice
Brushing of Basil Ice
Topped with Champagne
We all know the classic addition to champagne, a strawberry floating in the center. It is a lovely touch, elegant even. However, it doesn’t always add to the flavor. And I am all about flavor.
What if the flavor of a cocktail changed as your evening went? The longer it sat or the more you refilled your glass it became more and more fruity?
I wanted to play with time being part of this drink and decided to instead of simply placing a frozen piece of fruit into a glass I would make ice out of the juice of a strawberry. That way, as the ice melted more of the strawberry’s natural sweetness would incorporate in the drink.
I did use frozen strawberries, they are cheaper and I enjoy having them on hand. Take a cup of frozen berries and cook them in water, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt for 20 minutes. Keep the flame low, just enough heat to melt the strawberries.
Once cool we want to blend the chunks of strawberry. They are still packed with flavor so it would not make sense to simply throw them away. After they are blended you are welcome to strain the juice for a smoother finish, I forewent this step since I was making ice and a little texture from the remaining seeds was not going to bother me.
You are more than welcome to create any sort of ice you desire, there are some pretty great shapes out there (I certainly love my spheres). Or you can take an extra step, use the glass itself! I wanted to freeze the juice at an angle in a square glass so the ice tapered all the way to the top. Easy right? Well, it is, but I over thought the process and ended up getting extremely frustrated.
That is a pretty classic Kate move. To over think a project and come up with a complicated solution when in fact there was a very easy one available. I tried leaning the corner of my square glass through the slits of the freezers top shelf, I tried wrapping a rubber band around the edge to get traction. I tried clipping clothespins to the shelf hoping that they would create pressure.
It was a mess. The glasses kept tipping and I was spilling bright red liquid over the contents of my freezer. Then...lightbulb...I placed the glass in a small ramekin...and it stood at the perfect angle with no hassle. See? Easy solution after much too long fighting with the glass. But I got there.
Let sit in the freezer for a few hours to...well, freeze.
In the meantime lets create our basil juice. We are going to brew our basil leaves in water, lemon juice, and a little sugar. Only leave the heat on until the water begins to simmer then turn off and allow the basil leaves to steep in the warm water. We don’t want to overheat the herb and have them end up becoming bitter.
Just like our strawberries, we are going to send the leaves through a quick pass in the blender. Then, using a basting brush, brush your strawberry ice lightly with the green liquid. I only applied a light layer, but we made a good amount so play around. If you are making multiple servings try to change up how much basil you add, it does contribute a lovely flavor.
Put iced glasses back in the freezer for its final stage. When it is time, pop the champagne! Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves enjoy the multiple lives of this drink!