Mon 17 Jul 2017
Read other related stories: Cocktails-smoked , Fruit , Gas Grill Techniques
STRAWBERRIES GET SMOKY FOR AN AQUA FRESCA COCKTAIL
If you enjoy fruity drinks or smoothies, then the Smoked Strawberry Aqua Fresca is perfect! Using seasonal fresh strawberries will bring this to the ultimate flavor height but any store purchased variety will work as well. This is the perfect cocktail for a summer event or as a non-alcoholic refresher on an exceptionally warm summer day. Get ready as we tell you how to do the smoking technique then construct this fabulous drink.
Strawberries Love Smoke
Start with strawberries that are at their peak. Gently wash them and then trim the stem end. I cut smaller strawberries in half and larger in quarters to ensure the smoke vapor can penetrate easily but you certainly can leave them whole. In addition to the strawberries – at least one quart to produce enough liquid for a few drinks – you’ll need the following ingredients and materials
Ingredients & Materials for Strawberries Get Smoky:
- 4 tablespoons sugar – reserve some extra in case you want to make this sweeter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine or coarse sea salt
- Juice of 2 limes
- A handful of fresh basil or mint
- Ice cubes
- Mixing bowl
- Mortar & pestle (optional)
- Sheet pan lined with parchment paper
- 2 double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious®
While you are getting the strawberries ready you can have your grill warming up. Set all burners to medium-low and close the lid.
Gas Grilling With Wood Chunks
Cooking with wood chunks can be done on the LP Gas Grill by using the heat shields or diffusers, whose purpose is to ensure even heat output over the grill grate. By keeping a medium-low heat on the burner containing 2 wood chunks from SmokinLicious® – I’m using 1 ash and 1 cherry – you won’t get the wood erupting in flames but rather a slow combustion that releases plenty of wood-fired flavors. While the wood heats up, I combine my strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt.
Get Ready For Juicy Bubbles
When you smoke strawberries on the grill, all the locked in pectin water will be released by the heat. That’s why it’s so important that you line your sheet pan with parchment paper so you don’t end up with a hard to clean mess.
After mixing in the vanilla extract, sugar, and salt it’s time to spread the strawberries onto the lined sheet pan and place on the grill. Once the pan is in place, turn off all the burners except for the one that has the wood chunks on the diffuser. Cooking time will be about 40 minutes with a grill heat of 300°F maintained with the lid closed and 1 burner lit.
Taste Is The Sweet Aroma
Whenever I smoke fresh strawberries, it brings the memory of my Mom making strawberry jam. As the strawberries react to the smoke vapor, you will see the pectin release and a beautiful, thick glaze will form around them. This is the stuff that will make an exceptional aqua fresca so be sure you don’t lose any when removing the pan from the heat. You’ll see the finished strawberries take on a much darker coloring and reduce size slightly from the water loss. Now get ready for the fun part – getting our drink together.
To start our drink creation, you will need a blender and I prefer a mortar and pestle for combining citrus and fresh herbs. Add the smoked strawberries to the blender and the remaining sugar. You can add the lime juice and fresh basil or mint right to the blender or add to a pestle and combine with the mortar. Once combined, add to the blender. Process the mixture. Add a few ice cubes and process again until a smooth mixture is revealed. You may add lime juice, sugarand ice as you see fit at this point – the recommended amounts are merely a guide.
Creating the Ultimate Aqua Fresca
With our strawberry mixture completed, it’s time to combine everything into a refreshing drink or cocktail. If making a cocktail, select your spirit of choice. I recommend tequila, vodka, or rum. Add some ice cubes to a glass. If making the alcoholic version, add an ounce of alcohol to the glass. Pour in the strawberry mixture and stir. Add a sprig of basil or mint to the glass and serve.
If you are a frozen drink person, add more ice during the blending stage to thicken this up and make a milkshake-like consistency. This is so refreshing and so fitting for the warmer months. Enjoy the Smoked Strawberry Aqua Fresca your way as you stay cool this summer season!
Did you love this drink idea? Let us know by leaving a comment. Be sure to follow and subscribe to us as we bring you innovative ideas for adding wood-fired flavoring to all types of foods, the SmokinLicious® way! Try Strawberries Get Smoky anytime!