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Scotch, Sherry, and Concord Cocktail

[Photograph: Autumn Giles]

With alternating smoky, nutty, and jammy notes, this cocktail plays up the complexity of Concord grapes. The result is a bit of a confounding cocktail: three assertive flavors that marry amazingly well.

I had big dreams of making a Concord grape syrup with no added water. Grapes have plenty of juice, I figured, but those big seeds and tough skins also have a ton of pectin, the stuff that makes jellies gel. Even after reducing the amount of sugar in the syrup and cooking it over really low heat, I got a very nice concord grape jelly. So, the final recipe does have a bit of water, but thanks to the bold, musky flavor of the Concords it is still mighty full-flavored. Many Concord recipes call for separating the skins of the grapes from the flesh (Concords are a "slip-skin" variety, which means the skins slide easily off of the flesh). To avoid that step here, reduce the cooking time, and still get jammy flavor, the grapes take a quick whir in the blender first to chop up the skins a bit and break down the flesh.

About the Author: Autumn Giles is a writer in Queens, NY. You can see her work on Autumn Makes & Does, listen to her talk on the Alphabet Soup Podcast, and talk at her on twitter.

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