This is essentially a mojito using basil instead of mint and oranges in place of limes. It’s dark, rich, and tastes figgy and herbaceous with just a bit of bright acidity. The richness comes from making a simple syrup with pureed black garlic -- raw bulbs are fermented and cured, resulting in molasses-colored cloves that are high in antioxidants (twice the amount of fresh garlic). We knew we wanted to create this special cocktail when we visited Greensgrow, an urban farm in Philadelphia, and tasted the black garlic from Mad Dog Farm. It's sustainably grown, then fermented and cured on site. Alongside firm cheeses, it's a terrific pairing -- it would also be terrific tossed into savory granola.
We'll be serving this black beauty at La Colombe's headquarters in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia on June 17, 2015 for their Supper Club (tickets link) to benefit Greensgrow Farms. For this recipe, we've incorporated La Colombe's very own rum, Drum, which is black-dark and full of vanilla notes.
For black garlic simple syrup
1/2 cup Demerara sugar
1/2 cup hot water
3 cloves black garlic (like Mad Dog)
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the cocktail
1 1/2 ounce dark rum
1 ounce black garlic simple syrup (details below)
1 orange wheel, sliced into halves
3 basil leaves + 1 small sprig to garnish
2 to 3 ounces soda water
Directions for syrup
Make a simple syrup out of the sugar and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a blender and add garlic. Blend until the garlic is finely ground. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids. Add the vinegar and taste – it should taste slightly acidic with a sweet, earthy finish. Add a splash more vinegar if necessary.
Muddle basil and half an orange wheel in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add black garlic syrup and rum. Stir, and top with soda water. Garnish with orange and basil.