I crave sunshine in the winter. No matter how many hikes in the woods, walks on the beach, trips to the park, prances through the snow – I still want that placating light and heat of the sun. I’ve learned to infuse warming spices into my cooking – grated ginger in my sautés, a pinch of cayenne in my morning lemon water. I’ll do anything to evoke those soothing rays. But how does one truly sip in the sun during winter, despite the grey skies and winter blues? I find that fresh citrus and turmeric help immensely, and Little Miss Sunshine, my latest cocktail concoction, is my homage to the sun when I need her most.
I begin by surveying the bowl of fruit on the counter and then the fruit drawer: I’ve got clementines for days and a shriveled satsuma. Lemons? Check. Grapefruits? I simply never buy enough; I eat them immediately, so off to the market I go for a few Ruby Reds. Here in New England, we don’t have the luxury of an orangery or lemon trees in backyards, but still, we must embrace citrus while it’s in season.
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It’s no coincidence that the Latin name for grapefruit is citrus x paradisi, or rather, citrus = paradise, delivered as it is in a lovely yellow-orange rind. Broiling grapefruit is an exciting way to add a bit of caramelized sweetness to the fruit. I coat the flesh with a teaspoon of honey (instead of sugar) for added floral notes and broil it until I see a bit of char for visual drama and smoky notes, about 5–8 minutes depending on your oven.
Little Miss Sunshine deserves an aromatic, woodsy gin like St. George Terroir, which is infused with Douglas fir, bay laurel, wok-roasted coriander, and a hint of citrus. Solo, Terroir feels like sipping in a verdant forest, then discovering a sunny clearing full of wildflowers. Yes, this gin is that botanical. I round it out with turmeric-honey syrup for another dash of spicy, earthy sweetness. Turmeric is an herbaceous rhizome in the ginger family that’s native to southern Asia. Known for its knotty exterior, a savory-spicy taste, and brilliant orange-yellow flesh the color of fresh marigold petals (careful, it stains), turmeric is hailed for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, perfect for impending flu season. Use your favorite local honey to build the turmeric-honey syrup and you’re on your way to boosting your immunity.
I prefer Little Miss Sunshine on a late afternoon when the grey-blue sky is fading, and when you need that little extra dash of sunlight. It’s a delicate reminder that you can appreciate the best of the season, even while dreaming of longer days.
Little Miss Sunshine
makes 1 cocktail
1 ½ ounce St. George Terroir gin
¾ ounce turmeric and honey syrup (recipe below)
¾ ounce charred ruby red grapefruit juice (recipe below)
2-inch segment of charred grapefruit for garnish
To make the turmeric-honey syrup:
Grate 1 tablespoon of fresh turmeric and steep it in ½ cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Add ½ cup of local honey and stir the solution until all honey to dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool then, using a fine strainer, strain the mixture into into a clean glass and set aside.
To make charred ruby red grapefruit juice:
Preheat broiler. Cut off 1/2 inch from the bottom and top of a grapefruit. (This will help stabilize the fruit while broiling.) Slice the grapefruit in half. Brush the exposed flesh of each half with 1 teaspoon of honey apiece then place the fruit, flesh side up, on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the grapefruit, checking it frequently, until the honey turns dark amber and there’s a light char on the surface, about 5–8 minutes. Let the fruit cool. Placing each grapefruit half on its side, slice into the flesh a half inch below the surface, carving out a wheel. Slice the wheel into quarters and set aside for garnish. Finally, press the juice out of all remaining grapefruit flesh and strain into a clean glass or jar.
To make the cocktail:
Pour liquid ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake for 10 seconds, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a charred grapefruit quarter. Here comes the sun!