This Concord Crush (aka, a grape gimlet) is my current cocktail obsession. If you like the sweet-tart flavor of concord grapes and the piney scent of gin, read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.
Concord grapes are one of those foods I love, but rarely ever eat. Year after year I forget how much I like them, and let their short season pass me by. It’s only when they show up on a cheese plate somewhere that I suddenly remember, dang these are good!
This year I was determined not to let them get away, and started pestering my produce manager about a week before they were available. There’s just nothing else quite like concord grapes. They’re worlds apart from any other type of fruit — sweet at first, then sour, like nature’s take on sour-patch kids. Like candy, minus the food coloring and sugar crash. Yes please.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: mixing cocktails has quickly become a favorite little hobby of mine. I am not a big drinker (like, at all) but on the occasion when I do, I take so much pleasure in playing with different flavor combinations. (Like concord grapes and gin… *swoon*.)
When my brother and I were kids, we would make “potions” and pretend they could give us special powers. Now as an adult, mixing drinks holds that same sense of fun and wonder, only instead of imaginary super powers, I end up with some very real deliciousness.
But don’t worry, I’m still working on the whole super powers thing.
As much as I love making boozy beverages, though, I hate actually buying the booze. There’s just something about going to the liquor store that feels like such a drag. Perhaps I’m spoiled by big supermarkets where I can get almost everything I need in one trip, but if I have to go to another store for just one item? Not happening.
Lucky for me, a new company reached out to me recently because they plan on expanding into my area. They’re called Drizly, and they make booze shopping as easy as ordering a pizza. All you have to do is pick out what you want online, and they deliver it to your door, often times within an hour or less.
WHY HASN’T ANYONE THOUGHT OF THIS SOONER?
Seriously. I cannot wait for them to come to Ann Arbor. (This post is sponsored by Drizly, but if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I only ever promote companies or products I personally use or am excited about.) Also, I just noticed they deliver extras like fresh limes and club soda, too. SO SMART.
While we’re on the subject of booze, let’s talk about gin for a minute.
For this cocktail, I started off using St. George Terroir, which I love for its super piney intensity. (It has douglas fir on top of the juniper berries that traditionally give gin its distinctive flavor.) However, I found it a little overpowering in this case, hiding the rosemary more than I would have liked. In lieu of this, I’d recommend a slightly lighter, more citrusy gin like the St. George Botanivore, or even Bulldog brand gin. (I’m not paid by any of these brands, by the way, they’re just ones I’ve personally tried and enjoyed.) If you have a certain kind of gin you already know and love, go ahead and use that — and if you don’t know where to begin, I do think that St. George is a good entry-level starting place, and they actually offer a sample pack so you can try their three different varieties without a big bottle commitment.
As much as the booze does matter, I have yet to find a gin that doesn’t work at least decently well in this drink, so feel free to experiment to find what you like best.
This Concord Crush is a fruity take on a French style Gimlet. You might be familiar with the classic Gimlet — a mix of gin (or vodka), club soda, and lime juice. Well, a French gimlet is similar, except they add in a splash of elderflower liqueur, which brings a little sweetness and some floral notes to the party. Try to hold that image in your head, and now add a glug of fresh concord grape juice and a sprig of rosemary, and you’ve got what I’ve dubbed The Concord Crush. (Inspired by this cocktail from Gramercy Tavern.)
Normally when I get my hands on concord grapes, they go straight into my piehole. What can I say; they’re delicious, I’m compulsive. If you can hold off eating them long enough, though, I highly recommend turning them into this little sipper. But I’m warning you, it’s kiiiind of delicious, so drink responsibly.
- 1½ oz. gin (such as St. George Botanivore)
- 1 oz. fresh grape puree (recipe below -- or 100% unsweetened concord grape juice, see recipe notes for details)
- ½ oz. elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain)
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice (about ½ a lime)
- ¼-1/2 oz. simple syrup (see recipe notes)
- 1 two-inch sprig rosemary, plus more for garnish
- Club soda to top off the glass
- ½ lb. fresh concord grapes, removed from the vine
- ½ tsp. fresh lime juice
- Blend both ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pass through a fine mesh seive, pressing with a flexible spatula or spoon to get as much liquid out of the solids as possible. Discard the skins/seeds left in the sieve. Grape puree can be stored for several days in the fridge, or frozen for future use.
- Add the gin and rosemary sprig to a cocktail shaker, and muddle gently to release some of the rosemary oils. Add all the remaining ingredients and a handful of ice, and shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice (or serve in a coupe glass without ice, like a traditional gimlet) and top off with club soda. Garnish with an extra sprig of rosemary, or a couple concord grapes.
For the simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water (1 cup each) in a small saucepan or microwave safe container, and heat until sugar has dissolved. Once cool, syrup can be stored in a jar in the fridge and used for future cocktails. Feel free to adjust the amount in this recipe according to your tastes (I like ½ an ounce if I'm using homemade concord grape puree, or just ¼ ounce if I'm using store-bought grape juice).
You can also feel free to swap the rosemary for any other herb you like or happen to have. I tried using fresh sage, and also lavender, and both were delicious.
Cocktail adapted from and inspired by this grape gimlet from Gramercy Tavern, via Serious Eats.
This post is sponsored by Drizly, but all opinions are my own. As you guys know, I never promote a product or brand that I wouldn’t personally use or recommend to my own friends and family!