Quick Bite: Fruit Cocktail
FIG puts a culinary twist on a deliciously simple seasonal libation
“The Quincy was actually born in our kitchen,” explains FIG bartender Samantha Ewing of the drink she developed for the 2010 Charleston Wine + Food Festival Cocktail Competition.
“Our chef, Mike Lata, made a quince paste to include on the cheese plate, and the syrup was left over. It was too delicious to throw away, so I got behind the bar and found that its slightly sweet richness paired wonderfully with bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and orange bitters.”
As it turns out, harvest season for quince lasts from August until January, so now’s a great time to give Ewing’s recipe a try. The syrup may have been developed by a James Beard Award-winning chef, but it’s actually easy to make at home from equal parts quince and sugar. “There are several varieties of the fruit, and any will work well,” says Ewing. “Just see what’s available at markets like Whole Foods and Earthfare.” You can make a big batch and freeze some for later, and as an added bonus, once you’ve drained the syrup, you’ll be left with a sweet treat of candied fruit.
While quince may be the star of this concoction, the orange bitters play a big supporting role, explains Ewing. “Our bar manager, Brooks Reitz, suggested that I use the brand created by spirits expert Gary Regan. Available online, it’s subtle but has enough spice to really punch up the cocktail.” While a lemon twist or an orange wedge will do nicely as garnish, Ewing likes to use pitted cherries soaked in Tuaca overnight. The delicious result is perfectly hued—and plenty sophisticated—for autumn entertaining.
- 2 oz. bourbon (Woodford Reserve recommended)
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. quince syrup (recipe follows)
- 3 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
- Tuaca-soaked cherries, for garnish
- (makes 1 cup)
- 2 lbs. sugar
- 2 lbs. quince, diced
Place crushed ice in a stemmed rocks glass. In a shaker, combine bourbon, lemon juice, quince syrup, and bitters. Shake gently, pour over ice, and garnish with cherries.
For the quince syrup:
Combine sugar and quince and let sit overnight to macerate. In a stock pot, warm mixture on medium-high heat. Once it starts to bubble, reduce temperature to medium-low and simmer until it achieves a rosy hue and sticks to the spoon like honey (about two hours). Use a sieve to drain the syrup from the fruit.