Along the East coast, temperatures have begun to drop enough that turning on the oven doesn't mean you're whole apartment turns into one. During one of my inaugural fall baking sprees, I went for something super simple—roasted figs in balsamic vinegar. They're a real no-brainer—figs cut in half and drizzled with balsamic, but the flavor is out of this world.
Now while most people might incorporate the figs into a salad (delicious, especially with walnuts) or pair them with cheese (yes please!), I'm always thinking about how to incorporate my latest market find into a drink. In this case, I reached for my blender. I wanted to keep all the richness of the both the figs and vinegar, so I just blended it all together into a slightly thick, super-flavorful purée.
To enhance the warm tones of the fig and vinegar, I paired the purée with a little maple syrup and whiskey, with a touch of lemon juice and orange bitters to liven up the flavors. The result is a deeply hued cocktail speckled with fig seeds. The flavor is grounded by the slightly earthy flavor of the fig, but enhanced by the sweet notes of the whiskey and syrup. It's a drink that's perfect for September sipping.
About the author: Kelly Carámbula blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, including a weekly happy hour, on eat make read. She is also the founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food magazine.
- For the fig purée:
- 12 ripe figs, halved
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- For the cocktail:
- 1 heaping teaspoon fig purée
- 1 1/2 ounce bourbon
- 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 ounce maple syrup
- Dash orange bitters
To make the fig purée: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the figs in a 9"x9" metal baking pan and pour the balsamic vinegar over top. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring twice to prevent burning. Remove the figs from the oven and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Pour the figs and remaining liquid into the blender and purée until fully blended. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To make the cocktail: Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add fig purée, bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and orange bitters. Shake for 15 seconds, then strain into a cocktail glass.