Michigan strawberries and tequila for your love
It’s strawberry season in Michigan. There are all kinds of traditional recipes for strawberries, but a recipe from the 1930s is not so traditional in the U.S.
Charles H. Baker wrote a book called The Gentleman’s Companion. He gathered recipes for drinks beyond the United States and Europe.
Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings says one of those recipes came from Mexico. Tequila por mi Amante translates to tequila for my love.
“You take a quart of strawberries right now when they are fresh and in season. Cut them in half, dump a bottle of tequila over top of them in a big Mason jar and let it sit for about two, three weeks,” Tammy explained.
The result is a beautiful strawberry infused tequila.
Tammy had some she made last year and planned to make strawberry Margaritas. Now, if you’ve ever had a strawberry Margarita mixed up in a slushy machine, this is not that.
Tammy used a Cabresto tequila. You can learn the Michigan connection to that tequila here. She also used Clockwork Orange Liqueur from New Holland distillery and then some freshly squeezed lime juice and sweetened it with a bit of simple syrup. (See the recipe below.)
The Tequila por mi Amante that you make now won’t be ready until late July or August and it’s going to taste different than the batch Tammy made last year.
“When you drink it right away, after that two to three week period, it’s going to taste really brilliantly of strawberries. As it sits through the year, the strawberry flavor is going to relax a little bit,” Tammy said, adding what she was mixing up was going to be almost a shadow of what it was last year, but definitely enough to shine through.
She was right. The strawberry taste was there, but it was more subtle. It was nothing like those artificially flavored over-sweet slushies.
“Strawberries and tequila go together so well,” Tammy said.
Just maybe there’s a new tradition that can be added to the Michigan canon of seasonal strawberry recipes.
2 oz tequila por mi amante (see below)
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
If desired, rim glass with salt. Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain into glass, either a coupe or martini or a rocks glass with ice as you prefer.
Tequila por mi Amante
Cut up 1 quart fresh local strawberries into halves or quarters depending on size. Place into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and fill with one 750 mL bottle of blanco or reposado tequila. Infuse in a cool dark place for 1-3 week, shaking once daily. Strain and keep refrigerated.
Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.