Growing up in Oregon, I was surrounded in spring and summer by fields of berries, mostly strawberry because they have higher productivity than raspberries. And strawberries behave themselves, while raspberries tend to “grow wild” and spread out of control. They are members of the rose family after all.
The United States grows 9% of the worldwide crop. Russia grows 26%. I have no idea what Putin and his associates do with them. I will research. There’s only so much vodka you can make.
The beverage above has no vodka, but it does have a bit of a kick. This is my latest agua fresca and I investigated what to do about the essential flavor of raspberries. Don’t get me wrong. I love raspberries. The color of raspberry red is immediately recognizable. Darker, deeper, more mysterious than pure strawberry read.
No, my issue is that raspberries tend to be tart and have a monolithic flavor. These days, mixologists will use 6+ ingredients to create cocktails with an abundance of flavor notes and layers. Wine makers have, of course, been doing the same for centuries. There is surely some difference between a deep Burgundy and the one-note of Welches Grape Juice.
Same issue as the raspberries: one note. The skills of a mixologist need not be devoted to just cocktails. Any beverage can be experimented with, extended, and amplified.
To give raspberries more flavor here, I’m doing a yin-yang approach. There is some lemon juice, which always brightens. There is sugar to sweeten. And there is Adobo Honey — see yesterday’s post! — for a second layer of sweetness and just the barest image of heat in the finish of your sip. This drink is not fiery, but it has full sweetness and series of flavor layers that you will sense and adore.
About the sweetness. This recipe calls for 1 cup of simple syrup, which consists of ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar. You’ll find agua fresca recipes that call for a range of sugar: from 1 tablespoon to that full ½ cup. You can adjust as you wish. But the sugar syrup is viscous, and I find that it adds some body to the drink. Textures is one of the senses involved in “tasting” food and here the syrup plays a double role of sweeter and “thickener.”
To make it easy for you, the Adobo Honey is made with ⅔ cup honey and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle pepper in adobo. Please, start with 1 teaspoon the first time out. Go for more heat in future experiments.
Raspberry Adobo Agua Fresca
Yield: 4+ cups
- Two six-ounce packets of fresh raspberries
- 3 cups of water
- Juice of one medium lemon
- 1 cup of simple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of Adobo Honey
Put the berries and water in a blender and process for two minutes. Strain through a fine wire mesh sieve. There will be considerable residue — with a blender and even with a Vitamix.
Stir in the lemon juice, simple syrup, and adobo honey. Mix very thoroughly. The honey can be viscous, so you may want to warm it before stirring in.
Chill thoroughly before consuming. At least 4 hours. And then, you can taste test. More sweetness is unlikely. But you can mix this agua fresca with some sparkling water to dilute the flavor a tad while imposing those bubbles. Or, you can mix this with the sparkling wine of your choice, in the proportions of your choice, to create an unmatched summer aperitif.
Sources: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.0 for 1/15th second at ISO-3200
You may well have purchased a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It’s a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and certainly a way to add zip to your guacamole.
There are both domestic and imported brands. Suzen and I are fond of that La Morena brand, although I do have a slight complaint. I don’t think the billing is appropriate. “Chipotle Peppers” is in one font and “Adobo Sauce” in a smaller one.
We find both components to be equally useful. Actually, I think we tend to favor the adobo sauce for its marvelous versatility.
Do you have some artichokes steaming away? Going to serve them with butter or mayonnaise. Take the mayo, add some adobo sauce, perhaps some lemon juice, and enjoy those artichokes as you never have.
What is adobo sauce anyway? The Spanish word “adobo” can be interpreted as marinade, sauce, or seasoning. Adobo sauce was created on the Iberian Peninsula [Spain and Portugal] where different versions are made with a combination of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar.
Variations exist around the world. For example, Mexican adobo sauce, like that in the can, are often combinations of guajillo chiles, water, garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar and cumin — a far cry from that original Iberian version. If you google, you will encounter a bounty of “personal variations” on this theme incorporating other chiles, spices such as cinnamon and clove and oregano, onion, and tomato. I think our La Morena sauce is probably quite basic and I thrive on that familiar, earthy flavor.
Here’s a simple but brilliant way to use that adobo sauce. Make Adobo Honey, a combination of sweet and heat that can be used from biscuits to aqua frescas. In fact, tomorrow’s post will feature a raspberry agua fresca with amplified flavor from lemon juice and adobo honey.
The proportions in the recipe below are based on some experimentation. The result you get will depend on the honey. This is NOT the time to use some expensive, floral honey because the adobo flavor is going to dominate. Instead, you want a good, basic, plain old honey. Good quality for sure, but with no flavor overtones. Let the adobo do the talking.
Yield: 2/3 cup
- 2/3 cup of plain honey
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
Warm the honey if necessary so it flows easily. A few second in the microwave will work. You need it flowing, not hot.
Add the adobo sauce and carefully mix to ensure uniformity. Taste test and, if you desire, add more fire. Just remember, you can make it hotter but you can only make it cooler by diluting with additional honey.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑800