Summer makes me think of beach time, weekends at the pool, BBQ’s, fresh summer produce and cocktails. While sweet frozen drinks are nice, sometimes I am in the mood for a light savory cocktail. Tomatoes and basil are the perfect summer ingredients to make this caprese cocktail. I can’t think of a better way to use fresh summer produce, and thanks to the KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer, it’s easy to enjoy this cocktail all summer long.
I have lived in New Jersey all my life and I take pride in the tomatoes my state grows. From July to October, I will be either picking tomatoes from my garden or purchasing them from the local farm. Tomatoes are on my dinner table almost every evening. My favorite summer salad is one with juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, bright green basil leaves and a drizzle of some olive oil and lemon juice. A quick sprinkling of sea salt makes this the fresh tasting salad perfect.
I love Caprese salad so much that I wanted to bottle it up and put it into a glass. So that’s exactly what I did. The cocktail consists of fresh tomato water and basil juice with skewers of fresh mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes and basil leaves for garnish. This cocktail is savory but the tomatoes and basil give it just the right hint of sweetness. The skewers make a great appetizer so I always serve the cocktails with plenty of extra skewers for eating.
While you might think that the tomatoes are the star of this cocktail, I think it’s the basil. Juicing herbs is a great way to take your cocktail to the next level. I grow plenty of basil in my garden and even in the winter I like to keep a bouquet of fresh basil in a glass on my counter. It makes any dish or beverage just a little fresher. The basil gives this cocktail lots of color as the tomato water is almost clear. Basil juice is also great in lemonade and homemade spa waters, plus juiced herbs have lots of health benefits too.
There is some work and preparation to make this cocktail but I promise you it is well worth it. Let’s first get started by making the tomato water. Tomatoes get quartered and juiced in the KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer. Make sure you do this at least six hours before you would like to serve the cocktails. I usually do it the night before. The tomato juice gets strained and turns into a light clear sweet liquid. It can be strained by using cheesecloth over a strainer or colander or you can put a few coffee filters in a strainer and do it that way. I just cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The juicer is easy to clean and will be ready to juice the basil.
A large amount of basil will only yield a few tablespoons of juice, but that is all that is needed. A little goes a long way. Even the smell while you are juicing the basil is glorious!
The mozzarella skewers can be made in advance so once you have juiced the basil and strained the tomato water, you are ready to make this cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add the tomato water, basil juice and vodka. A dash of sea salt and some lemon juice balances out the drink. Shake it well and pour into glasses. It’s time to garnish and then sip.
This drink is savory, lightly sweet and refreshing. It gives you the full flavors of summer. Try it and I promise you’ll love it. Ease into summer with this Caprese Cocktail!
CAPRESE COCKTAILMakes 3 cocktails
6 to 8 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
2 large bunches of basil (about 2 cups leaves packed)
1/2 cup vodka*
Sea salt, to taste
Half a lemon
For skewer garnish
Grape or small cherry tomatoes
Small basil leaves
Bite size fresh mozzarella balls
Place the sauce screen in the basket of the KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer. Add the tomatoes to the hopper and process. Line a colander or strainer with two layers of cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl or large glass measuring cup. Add the tomato mixture to the colander. Gather sides of cheesecloth to form a sack. Tie the top of the cheesecloth. Let the tomato water drip into the bowl for at least six hours or overnight. You should get at least one cup of a clear liquid. Clean out juicer for next use.
Place the low pulp screen in the basket of the KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer. Juice the leaves of the basil until you get 2 tablespoons of juice.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add one cup of the tomato water, 2 tablespoons of basil juice, the vodka and a dash of sea salt. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the shaker. Shake the mixture so it is well chilled and blended. Adjust with more salt if necessary.
For skewer garnish
To make skewers, alternate tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella balls on a skewer. Make extra, if desired, to serve with the cocktails.
Pour the shaken drinks into the glasses and garnish each glass with a skewer.
*Note: Depending how strong you like these cocktails, you can add more or less vodka.