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Keeping It Fresh

We’re putting a lot of late-spring and early summer fruits in pies and cobblers and crisps at this time of year, but bear in mind that you can eat your fruits and drink them, too.

Marie Maher, director of food and beverage for the Renaissance Las Vegas, has noticed a progression of fresh fruits in cocktails during the past 20 years.

“In the beginning,” Maher said, “everybody thought, ‘If I just squeeze a lemon or a lime, I’m there; my other fruits I will get from cordials.’

“Then it was, ‘Everything I can find in my chef’s dry storage’ — syrups made with rosemary or lavender and thyme. I think now, people are going, ‘Look, let’s put gobs of fruit in there. This is what people really want,’ whether they muddle it or do what we do, which is to have big juicers in the bar, one strictly for citrus, the other for strawberries or mango or passion fruit.”

Jason Ferris, New York-based corporate beverage director for Sushisamba, which has a restaurant and lounge at the Shoppes at Palazzo, said he has been basing cocktails on fresh fruit for 10 years, but is seeing more of it these days.

“I think it’s a great way to spice up classic cocktails, to add fresh flavors,” he said.

One of Sushisamba’s most popular cocktails is the Nina Fresa, which is made with muddled strawberries, vodka and fresh guava. But the restaurant has “a broad spectrum of fruits to muddle into caipirinhas and mojitos, too. A lot of them are based on people wanting to add fruit,” Ferris said.

The array generally includes fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon and mango.

“It really gives people the opportunity to not only have the regular cocktails we offer but to add fruits they enjoy to traditional cocktails,” he said. “It allows us to give people the freshest flavors available in the season and also take a drink they really enjoy and incorporate more fresh flavors.”

Martin Kipping, director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons, said the resort has been making fresh-fruit cocktails for close to a year and they’ve been “extremely successful” — especially during happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., when martinis are half-price.

“A lot of guests are not as familiar with those freshly prepared products and are extremely happy, and we have a very good following with those martinis,” Kipping said. “I think that nowadays, people are very conscious about what they’re eating and what they’re drinking.”

Kipping said in keeping with the seasonal menus of the resort’s Verandah restaurant, seasonal fruits are used in the cocktails. The Strawberry Basiltini, he said, contains strawberry-basil puree, agave nectar and lemon, with organic gin. There’s also a watermelon martini with fresh watermelon puree.

Maher’s bartenders make the Fila Brasilia, with cachaça, fresh peach and passion fruit purees and peach Schnapps, which, she said, is “very light and easy to drink.”

And the Cardinal Sin, with fresh passion fruit, gin, orange curacao and white cranberry juice.

And the Cantonese, with freshly squeezed strawberries, ginger liqueur and lemon juice.

“The ginger really pushes out the strawberry, and the color’s great,” Maher said. “People just drink this all night long.”

“I’m seeing a lot of fun stuff with fresh fruit,” she said. “It’s sort of the third evolution in recent years.”

THE CANTONESE

1 ounce Stolichnaya Vodka

1¼ ounces Domaine de Canton liqueur

2 ounces fresh strawberry juice

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup (see note)

Fresh strawberry half, for garnish

Shake all ingredients together over ice; strain into a martini glass.

Serves 1.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine equal amounts of sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool.

— Recipe from Envy the Steakhouse at the Renaissance Las Vegas

FILA BRASILIA

2 ounces Leblon Cachaça

½ ounce peach Schnapps

1 ounce fresh peach puree

1 ounce fresh passion fruit puree

½ ounce simple syrup (see note)

Fresh peach slice for garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice; strain into a martini glass. Garnish.

Serves 1.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine equal amounts of sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool.

— Recipe from Envy the Steakhouse at the Renaissance Las Vegas

THE CARDINAL SIN

1½ ounces Hendrick’s Gin

¾ ounce orange curacao

1½ ounces fresh passion fruit puree

1½ ounces white cranberry juice

Dash grenadine

Orange twist and star fruit slice for garnish

Shake all very well over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from Envy the Steakhouse at the Renaissance Las Vegas

NINA FRESA

1 large fresh strawberry

1 flat bar spoon of sugar

1½ ounces vodka

½ ounce Triple Sec

1 ounce guava juice

½ ounce sour mix

Fresh strawberry half for garnish

Muddle strawberry and sugar. Add other ingredients. Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass and garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from Sushisamba at the Shoppes at Palazzo

BEIJO

(“Kiss” in Portuguese)

1½ ounces Cruzan Rum

4 raspberries, muddled

½ ounce St-Germain liqueur

½ ounce Domaine de Canton liqueur

½ ounce sour mix

1 ounce champagne

Orchid for garnish

Shake all ingredients except champagne with ice, strain into a martini glass, add champagne float and garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from Sushisamba at the Shoppes at Palazzo

STRAWBERRY BASILTINI

3 ounces Junipero gin

1 ounce strawberry-basil puree (from a mixture of 5 fresh strawberries, 3 fresh basil leaves, the juice of 1 lime and 2 ounces of agave nectar)

Strawberry for garnish

Shake with ice; strain into martini glass. Garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from the Four Seasons

WATERMELONTINI

2 ounces Square One vodka

2 ounces watermelon puree (from a mixture of 5 watermelon wedges, the juice of 2 limes and 2 ounces of agave nectar)

Watermelon wedge for garnish

Shake with ice; strain into martini glass. Garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from the Four Seasons

PEAR MARTINI

2 ounces pear vodka

2 ounces pear puree (from a mixture of 2 pears, the juice of 2 limes and 2 ounces of agave nectar)

Slice of fresh pear for garnish

Shake with ice; strain into martini glass. Garnish.

Serves 1.

— Recipe from the Four Seasons

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

 

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