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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kumquat Martini (Moroccan Punch)

I have Morocco on my brain; could be because we are heading there in a few months.  So when a friend asked me to cater and give cooking classes for her birthday dinner, it should be no surprise that we ended on a Moroccan theme.

We will greet guests at the door with little jars of soup to tantalize their taste buds. Chickpea skillet bread and braised chicken follow later. By the end of the night, everyone will want to join in the Morocco trip.

No party is complete without a signature drink (and every birthday girl should have one.) This drink was born the moment I saw the kumquats at the store. Kumquats are an interesting little fruit that felt Moroccan to me at the time, so I went with it. They are similar to a tiny orange in some ways. The outside peel is bitter, the inside is a little sweet. It makes for a lovely entrance drink that set the tone for the night. And one that I will make again.

For a little extra effect, I made giant cubes of ice studded with mint, kumquats and clove, one for each glass. It completes the look and offers added flavor as the ice ball melts. A total Fat and Happy party extra.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: The dash of bitters really adds to this drink, it's important not to skip this ingredient.

Moroccan Kumquat Martini
AKA The Steph-tini

For each drink:
4 Tbls Kumquat Simple Syrup (recipe below)
2 tbls Vodka
squeeze of fresh Lemon
sprig of mint
dash of Aromatic bitters
1 large ice cube

Add all ingredients to the glass, swirl. Top with a dash of bitters.
The drinks I made were small, sampler sized. Adjust to your preference.

Kumquat Simple Syrup
1/2  pint Kumquats
2 cups water
1/4 cup honey

Slice the kumquats. Place everything in a pan over medium heat. Bring to just below a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let cool then strain.  The longer you can keep the kumquats in the syrup the more flavorful it will be; try to muddle them a bit too to get the most flavor out of them.

Ice Ball

You will need an ice mold to actually make the round ball but you could use paper cups for a fun shape without the added expense of an ice mold. Just freeze the water in cups and then peel away the paper.

 To get the clearest ice, boil the water first and let cool covered.  Fill your ice mold with flavors that will enhance the drink as it melts. For this Moroccan Punch I used lemon peel, mint, kumquats and clove.

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