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Two Grape Tarragon Gin Spritzers in goblets are garnished with tarragon sprigs in front of Black Food Cookbook.
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Grape Tarragon Gin Spritzers

Inspired by Bryant Terry's Grape Tarragon Spritzer recipe from his Black Food Cookbook, these cocktails have a hit of gin added to them.
Course Drinks
Cuisine African American
Keyword cocktails, gin,, grapes, herbs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
freezing time (for the grapes) 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 14 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 307kcal

Equipment

  • fine mesh sieve

Ingredients

For the Tarragon Syrup (begin 1 hour ahead)

  • 1 cup (215 grams) raw cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed (2 bunches) tarragon chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters water

For the Spritzer

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) red seedless grapes stems removed
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 250 milliliters) gin or to taste
  • 2 medium lemons juiced (3 tablespoons or 45 milliliters)
  • Tarragon Syrup
  • 4 cups (1 litre) sparkling water or club soda

Optional Garnish

  • 6 sprigs tarragon

Instructions

Make the Tarragon Syrup (See Notes)

  • In a 2-quart pot, stir together the water, cane sugar, and the chopped tarragon.
    Bring this mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  • Once the mixture begins to simmer in the pot and the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from the stove. 
    Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and allow it to cool completely in the refrigerator before adding it to the cocktail. 

Prepare the Grape Tarragon Base

  • Separate 30 grapes from the rest and put them onto a small sheetpan.
    Put the sheetpan in the freezer and freeze these grapes for at least 2 hours or until frozen solid.
  • Add the remaining grapes to a blender and blend them until they are completely broken down.
    Strain the grape juice from the skins and pulp through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-liter pitcher, using the back of a wooden spoon to press out as much juice as possible from the grapes. 
  • Add the gin, fresh lemon juice and the chilled tarragon syrup. 
    Stir the sparkling water into the grape tarragon mixture just before serving.

Assemble the Grape Tarragon Gin Spritzers

  • Add 5 frozen grapes to each glass.
    Pour the Grape Tarragon Spritzer mixture into the glass.
  • Garnish the cocktail with a sprig of tarragon and enjoy responsibly. 

Notes

Swaps and Substitutions

  • Replace the lemon juice with lime juice here if you prefer.
  • You can replace sparkling water with soda water, tonic water, or a sparkling wine like Moscato. 
  • You can swap the gin in this recipe for vodka, white rum, cachaça, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot grigio, Moscato or rosé. 
  • Omit the gin to make this a mocktail.

Tips and Techniques

  • You can make the tarragon syrup a week in advance and store it in a covered container in the fridge. 
  • Be sure to use red, seedless grapes, as the seeds in grapes, when blended, tend to impart a bitter flavor to the drink. 
  • You can freeze the grapes up to 2 months ahead if you want to, but 2 hours is fine.
  • You can prepare the grape tarragon base a week ahead and store it in a pitcher in the fridge until you're ready to serve it. 
  • Bryant Terry's original recipe uses only 1/4 cup of the Tarragon Syrup. I found that I like the entire cup added to the drink. If you prefer a lighter tarragon flavor (or a less sweet spritzer) you can use 1/4 cup. 
  • Serve these grape tarragon gin spritzers in glasses with a stem to avoid overheating them with your hands.

Pitcher Instructions (makes 24 servings):

  • 4 cups (860 grams) raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup packed (8 bunches) tarragon, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 milliliters) water
  • 8 pounds (3 kilograms) red, seedless grapes (stems removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 milliliters) gin
  • 8 lemons, juiced (3/4 cup or 175 milliliters)
  • 1 gallon (16 cups or 3 liters) sparkling water
  • fresh tarragon sprigs to garnish
  1. Prepare the Tarragon Syrup as instructed above and allow it to cool completely.
  2. Separate, then freeze 1 pound of the grapes until solid, or about 3 hours. 
  3. Blend the remaining grapes in a blender on high speed for 1 1/2 minutes, or until completely broken down. Pass the grapes through a fine-mesh sieve to extract the juice. 
  4. Pour the grape juice into a large pitcher. Add the gin, tarragon syrup, lemon juice, and finally, the sparkling water. 
  5. Allow your guests to add the frozen grapes to their glasses, then top with the grape tarragon gin spritzer. 

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 711mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 606IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 5mg