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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Frozen Caprese Cocktail with a Basil-infused Vodka

A few months ago we hosted a Fat and Happy Top Chef drinking party. I had won first place, but was disqualified for knoodling with one of the judges!

My final entry into the drink contest was a caprese cocktail with a basil-infused vodka followed by a tomato granita. An absolute flavor party in your mouth.

Starting out with a taste of dressed mozzarella, you follow with the basil shot which brings around a familiar flavor. The tomato granita soothes the vodka bite with its icy crystals and lands the final salad essence with an undeniable tomato punch.

Taking a simple salad and turning it upside down and inside out and then freezing it is an outstanding way to wow your guests. And it is actually quite simple aside from needing to tend to the granita.

Use this as an opening to your party or as a mid-dinner salad break to tantalize the palate. Either way it will be a Fat and Happy conversation piece.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: If you have the time, steep the basil in the vodka in a cool dark space for a day before you place it in the freezer.

Frozen Caprese Cocktail with a Basil-infused Vodka

3 cups Vodka
2 large basil stem full of leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
 Mini mozzarella balls, roughly 10
2 Tbls balsamic vinegar
2 fresh tomatoes
Pinch of salt

Place the vodka in a mason jar. Add the basil leaves to the vodka, pushing all the leaves down so they are covered. Place in the freezer until ready to use, allowing the basil to steep at least a few hours.

Juice the tomatoes and add a pinch of salt. Easiest way to do this to the drop the tomato in a blender, pulse it to liquify it and then strain it. Pour the strained tomatoes into flat pan with relative deed sides and place in the freezer. Use a small cake pan or a flat tupperware piece. At about every half hour or hour scrape the tomato juice with the tines of a fork to form the icy granita. Place the pan back in the freezer and repeat until desired slushiness is reached. If the tomato granita gets too frozen, simply let it sit at room temperature until it begins to soften.

Chop the mozzarella balls in half. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the the mozzarella balls, add in the chopped basil. Set aside until ready to use.

Utensils needed: toothpicks, mini shot glasses, amuse bouche type of serving spoon (Chinese soup spoons work great for this. Small plate to set each element on or a platter to line them all up on.

To plate: have all the plates, spoons and shot glasses ready and waiting in the freezer before you serve. Thread the mozzarella balls onto toothpicks. Use ones that have character for a more interesting presentation. I used hand made sticks that we picked at a flea market in Argentina. Pour the shot of vodka and set the cheese across the top. Scrape the tomato granita into spoons. Serve the basil vodka and the granita on a little plate together immediately.

Yield- this made about 15-20 cocktail servings. You can get more or less out of it depending on the size portions you serve. I did have left over tomato granita which I used for another purpose.


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