Shelf-stable is all the rage these days, and bopping to the store for a fruity cocktail garnish is not what most would deem “essential.” If you’re out of fresh citrus to zest, and your cocktail cherry supply is dwindling, reach for some dried fruit, and then soak it in booze.
Liquor-soaked dried fruit feels very “British pudding” but, as the Barefoot Contessa points out on her site, it can also make a compelling cocktail garnish. Ina infuses dried cherries with cognac (in the microwave!) for some really beautiful sidecars, but almost any fruit can be infused and used this way. (I wouldn’t recommend prunes, however, unless you wish to make a warrior’s cocktail.)
Combine a quarter cup of dried fruit with two shots (60ml) of booze, stir, then microwave for a minute. Set aside to cool, then skewer on toothpicks before plunking into beverages. Cherries are great with cognac, but apricots with brandy, strawberries with tequila, and apple slices with rye all sound pretty good too.
Cocktailing at home requires a few more ingredients (and tools) than cracking open a beer or decanting some wine, and complexity probably isn’t exactly the vibe any of us are looking to cultivate right now. Luckily, cocktails don’t have to be crazy complicated.