I recently discovered tomato water. At first I was confused. Why would I want tomato flavored water? Of course I ran into a health nut who knew all about it and its amazing health related properties, none of which I paid attention to until he revealed he first heard of it from a bartender who was toying around with it for some drinks. INTEREST PIQUED! As we know however, my mind thinks “infusiastically” so I immediately wondered how tomato water would work as simple syrup, replacing just plain old H2O. That experiment lead to more, most notably, a tomato-basil simple syrup.
Tomato-Basil Simple Syrup
10 medium tomatoes
1.5 tbsp. coarse salt
0.5 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves
– As always, wash the tomatoes and then with a sharp knife remove the cores, keeping as much skin intact as possible
– Blanch tomatoes (optional, Google can show you how to do this [son!])
– Place tomatoes and salt in a blender and puree them until nice and smooth
– Pour tomato puree into a strainer lined with four to five layers of cheesecloth
– Let the puree drain, into a container, for 4 – 8 hours (in the fridge)
-Throw away remaining puree and transfer 1/2 cup of the tomato water to a medium sauce pan
– Add sugar to saucepan, stir and bring to a boil
– Add fresh basil leaves, stir and remove from heat
– Let mixture steep for 30 – 45 minutes, then strain basil leaves out
– store in a dry container
* syrup keeps for 4 – 5 days, refrigerated*
Tomato water by itself is a great addition to many cocktails. It provides a lighter yet full tomato flavor without the consistency and viscosity of tomato juice. Try it as a substitute for tomato juice in a Bloody Mary to fully understand the differences.
A little more time intensive of a recipe than other simple syrups, but the product is worth the wait. With a light, earthy, floral tone, it is the perfect balance to soften a cocktail and provide a little base to counter the acidity of any citrus forward cocktail.