I don’t usually take this long to part with seasonal favorites. By the time I’m scanning aisles for canned pumpkin, I’m happy to say my goodbyes to sweet summer corn. I’m happy to let it settle back into the dirt, take a long nap, a bubble bath or two, read Better Homes and Gardens, or whatever it is delicious grains do to recharge (I’m not a scientist).
For reasons then-unknown, the other day I couldn’t just stroll by a pint of end-of-season kumquats at Whole Foods. Guilt? Because I had spent all of this kumquat season without so much as stopping to appreciate and consider the tart, bright-orange, tiny winter beauties and what I might be able to do with them? Like muddle them with spicy, sweet ginger syrup and pour whiskey on them?
In general, I think I do too much mission-driven grocery shopping, instead of what I call Farmer’s Market Shopping, or possibility-driven shopping, if you will. I tend to envision first, and hunt next. Wouldn’t it be easier to just let what’s available lead the way?
I’m taking this to heart. From now on, you’ll find me in the produce section at Trader Joe’s. I’ll probably be deep in thought, pondering important things like ears of corn taking bubble baths and “Can I put that in a cocktail?”
Kumquat Ginger Whiskey
(Ginger syrup recipe from Joy the Baker)
For ginger syrup:
2 cups coarsely chopped ginger
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
8-10 kumquats, halved
2 teaspoons ginger syrup, or more to taste
1 shot whiskey
Club soda, for topping (optional)
To make the syrup, process the ginger in a food processor, pulsing until evenly and finely chopped. Combine ginger, water and sugar in a large pot over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking until reduced to half the original volume, about 1-1.5 hours.
Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Allow syrup to cool before using it in drinks. (Joy uses this to make homemade ginger ale, and it’s delicious! Multiple uses, check it out.)
To make the cocktail, combine the kumquat halves and syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle well. Fill the shaker with ice, add your whiskey, cover and shake well. Strain into a lowball glass filled with ice, top with club soda, if desired, and garnish with additional kumquats, if you wish.