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Friday, August 27, 2010

Drink of the Week: FAIR. Quinoa Vodka

No longer relegated to picnics and vegetarian menus, quinoa makes its mark in the spirits world with the U.S. launch of Fair Quinoa Vodka from the Fair Trade Spirits Company, the world’s first fair-trade spirits company. Made in France from fair-trade-certified Bolivian quinoa, this vodka offers up nuanced notes of white pepper, bitter orange peel and a smooth creaminess on the finish. Sip it solo over a large ice cube, or try it mixed with fresh strawberries and Meyer lemon juice in the Strawberry Cooler from Scott Baird at 15 Romolo in San Francisco. U.S. availability is currently limited to New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, with national distribution in the works. $31, drinkupny.com

Strawberry Cooler
2 oz. FAIR. Quinoa Vodka
3/4 oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth
1 1/2 oz. fresh strawberry puree
3/4 oz. fresh Meyer lemon juice
3/4 oz. rich simple syrup
1 dash rose water
1 1/2 oz. soda water
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Collins
Garnish: thinly sliced lemon wheel and mint floret

Combine all ingredients, except ice and soda water in a shaker, and shake briefly to incorporate. Add soda water to shaker and strain ingredients into an ice-filled Collins glass and garnish.

For the strawberry puree: Remove the tops from one pint of strawberries and puree in a blender until smooth. Push through a sieve to remove seeds and large particulates.

For the rich simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup evaporated cane sugar to 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off any foam and cool to room temperature. Will keep refrigerated for two weeks. Romolo suggests adding the microplaned zest of one Meyer lemon to the rich simple syrup while simmering, and straining out the zest after the syrup cools to room temperature.

Scott Baird, 15 Romolo, San Francisco, CA