Monday, July 29, 2013

An A-Maize-ing Margarita!

Imbibe Magazine has become one of my favorite publications. There isn't an issue that doesn't come jam-packed with new cocktails, spirits, mixers and such that are available in stores (not always in Pennsylvania, but I travel!) and all variety of cocktails, shrubs, tinctures, bitters and syrups to make right at home. Sometimes I whip up a batch of whatever sounds really interesting. Like Corn Milk Syrup.

The last issue (July/August 2013) contained a recipe for Corn Milk Syrup from Pouring Ribbons in sounded like summer in a jar! This being prime fresh corn season (and having a penchant for sweet, fresh corn on the cob from the get-go), the idea intrigued me. That and the fact that Frederick Arnold, one of the creative bartending minds at TenderBar + Kitchen in Lawrenceville is currently mixing up an old Prohibition era cocktail called a Cornpopper. Corn just seems to be happening on the summer cocktail scene! 

Frederick Arnold and the Cornpopper with a festive 4th of July garnish!

That issue arrived in my mailbox before the first local ears of corn were even ready locally, so a few ears of Florida fresh from my local Giant Eagle had to do. Once the uncooked kernels were cut from the cobs, liquified in the blender, painstakingly squeeeeeeeezed through cheesecloth into a bowl, poured carefully into a plastic jug and sugar was added and stirred until completely dissolved, I ended up with a very corn-y and fresh simple syrup. Delicious. Needless to say there was some corn milk syrup and bourbon experimentation going on that night!

A few weeks went by, Soergel's, Kaelins' and Shenots now had their very own sweet, field fresh corn....definitely Corn Milk Syrup time again! The result? An even sweeter and corn-ier batch than the first. That being said, it was back to the Corn Milk Syrup lab for more mad scientist-like mixing, stirring and shaking.

Truthfully, I'd been mulling over the possibilities of the beautiful sun-yellow liquid since making it the first time. Corn and lime go together so well...Mexican flavors contain lots of corn and about tequila in a corn and lime cocktail? MARGARITAS! Thus the idea for a Maize (Spanish for corn!) Margarita on the rocks was born. 

It's a simple cocktail with a creamy yellow color and silky texture that makes a very nice surprise for your picnic and party guests this summer. But make these quick before our sweet corn season disappears for another year. Make hay...and Maize Margaritas...while the sun shines!

 Maize Margaritas

  • 2 ounces tequila, gold
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces corn milk syrup (see recipe below)

  • lime, zested and juiced, set zest aside on small plate
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

In a shaker, mix the tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and corn milk. Add ice to 3/4 of the way up the tin. Cap, shake until the tin is frosted and strain into a Lime Salt rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wheel or strip of lime peel and serve.

Corn Milk Syrup: 5 ears corn, sugar.  

Cut the kernels off the cobs and put into a blender. Process until the corn is completely liquified. Pour into a large bowl lined with a single layer of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and edges of the cheesecloth keeping all the corn inside and twist being sure the liquid falls into the bowl. Continue twisting and squeezing until ALL the liquid is expelled from the solids. Discard the solids (or use for soup!). Measure the liquid corn then measure an equal amount of granulated sugar. Mix the sugar into the liquid corn and stir until dissolved. There's your Corn Milk Syrup!

Lime Salt: On a small plate, stir together the salt and lime zest. Add more salt if you want the mixture saltier instead of lime-ier. I dipped the rim of my glass into corn milk before salting the rim. 

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