Tarragon with the Wind:  Strawberry Tarragon Lemonade

Herbs add an element of sophistication to mocktails, elevating the ordinary soft drink into something special that would excite the adult palate.  This Strawberry Tarragon Lemonade marries the pungent liquorice character of tarragon with the sweetness of fresh strawberries and the tartness of lemon.  

It’s juicy, refreshing, and symphonic in flavor: a sure-fire summer hit.

For a more subtle, natural sweetness, I’d recommend opting for a high quality sparkling lemonade made with no artificial sweeteners.  I like Fentimans Victorian Lemonade, but there are lots of quality options available in your local supermarket or online too.

Serves 1
Preparation time: 30 mins (to allow the strawberry mixture to cool)

Ingredients

  • 5 oz. (150 g) strawberries + 1 to garnish
  • 1 oz. (30 ml) water
  • ½ oz. (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. ½ lemon)
  • 2 sprigs of tarragon
  • 4 oz. (120 ml) sparkling lemonade

Note:  The cooked strawberry mixture will make approximately 2 ½ oz. (75 ml) of strawberry juice per serving.

Equipment

  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid
  • Wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula
  • Fine mesh sieve
  • Small bowl
  • Jigger or measuring spoons
  • Citrus juicer
  • Muddler
  • Shaker
  • Cocktail spoon
  • Highball glass

Instructions

  1. First, make the strawberry juice.
  2. Wash, hull and cut the strawberries into pieces.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the strawberries and water.
  4. Mush the strawberries into the water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat, put the lid on the saucepan and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, mush the strawberry mixture again, and leave to infuse for another 5 minutes with the saucepan lid on.
  7. Pass the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside to cool.
  8. Next, assemble the mocktail.
  9. Muddle the tarragon and lemon juice in the cocktail shaker.
  10. Add the strawberry juice and a handful of ice.
  11. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
  12. Strain into the highball glass, fill with ice, and top with lemonade.
  13. Use a cocktail spoon to gently mix the ingredients together.
  14. Garnish with a strawberry.

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Strawberry Tarragon Lemonade FAQ

How do I muddle the tarragon and lemon juice?
Muddling is a technique used by bartenders to gently crush herbs or fruits to release their flavors and aromas.  It is done by using a muddler, which is a tool similar to a pestle.  If you don’t have a muddler, you can use the back end of a wooden spoon instead.

Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones?
Yes, you can use frozen strawberries if fresh ones are not available.  Simply add them straight into the saucepan: no need to thaw.

How long does the strawberry juice need to cool before using it in the mocktail?
It’s best to let the strawberry juice cool to room temperature before using it in the mocktail.  This can take around 20 minutes.  You can speed up the cooling process by cooling the juice in a wide-bottomed bowl, or putting it in the refrigerator.

Can I make the strawberry juice in advance?
Yes, you can make the strawberry juice in advance.  Once the juice has cooled, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Preparing the strawberry juice ahead of time will speed up the mocktail assembly time considerably.

Can I substitute the tarragon with a different herb?
If you’re not a fan of tarragon or don’t have it available, you can experiment with different herbs.  Mint or basil are good alternatives to try as they complement the flavors of the strawberries and lemonade.

Can I use dried tarragon instead of fresh tarragon?
It is preferable to use fresh tarragon to impart the best flavor, but you can use dried tarragon as a substitute if needed.  It’s important to note that the flavor profile of the herb might vary slightly and you may need to adjust the ingredient measurements to suit your tastes.  As a general guideline, start with ¼ teaspoon of tarragon and add more if needed.

Can I make a larger batch of this recipe?
Yes.  If you want to make a larger batch, you simply need to scale up the ingredients accordingly.  If you are serving a crowd, it’s recommended to make the strawberry juice in advance.  You can muddle the tarragon and lemon juice in a pitcher or punch bowl if needed (removing the leaves once you are done), before adding the rest of the ingredients.  Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnished with a strawberry or lemon slice.

Can I substitute lemonade with another citrus soda or carbonated beverage?
Absolutely.  You can substitute the lemonade with a different citrus soda such as limeade, sparkling water, tonic water, or lemon-lime soda.  Bear in mind that this may alter the overall flavor character of the drink and you may want to adjust the sweetness accordingly.

Did you make this?  Tag me @mightymocktail or use the hashtag #mightymocktail!

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