Fresh strawberries are appearing in markets around the country, and depending on where you live you may already be neck-deep in the lush, red fruit. When local strawberries are at their peak (not quite yet, here in Seattle), one of my favorite drinks to make is a simple preparation called Tequila por mi Amante.
Tequila por mi Amante isn't something you put together to enjoy tonight—rather, it's an infusion that takes a few minutes of work and a few weeks of waiting, but the payoff is definitely worthwhile. Combining the bright, aromatic sweetness of strawberries with the peppery earthiness of tequila, Tequila por mi Amante tastes like joyous summer.
The preparation entered the larger drinks world in 1939, when Charles H. Baker listed the recipe in his Gentleman's Companion. Be sure to use strawberries at the peak of ripeness to get the best flavor. I usually prepare mine with reposado tequila, simply because I like the way it comes out, but you'd have good luck with a blanco (or even an anejo), too—just be sure to use a 100-percent agave tequila, rather than a coarser mixto.
And after the drink is prepared, I'd suggest you keep it refrigerated and plan to use it quickly (not a problem, as the taste is so alluring) because the mixture will start to oxidize and the flavor will degrade.
You can simply sip Tequila por mi Amante on its own, or use it in a margarita, a Paloma or try it in other tequila-based drinks. It's a great way to stretch the flavor of fresh strawberries into the summer, and to use the tequila you may have leftover from your Cinco de Mayo party.
Tequila por mi Amante
- Yield:makes about 8 servings
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:3 weeks
- 1 quart very ripe strawberries
- Half of one 750mL bottle reposado or blanco tequila
Wash and stem the strawberries and cut them in half (or in quarters if your berries are large). Place the cut berries in a quart-size jar, adding until the jar is about three-quarters full. Add tequila until the berries are completely covered. Store the jar in a cool place and let the mixture soak for three weeks, agitating the jar every day or so. After three weeks, taste the mixture; let soak for a few days more if necessary, otherwise strain through cheesecloth, lightly pressing the berry pulp to extract the last drops of infused tequila. Keep refrigerated, and use within a couple of weeks.