Was it Worth the Purchase?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort box when it comes to drinks. Think about it. With CoVid having us on a bit of a lockdown and bars being limited in seating capacity, we have changed out habits when it comes to drinking. As for myself, I looked for the beverages that helped me relax but more important, I knew what they were. I would purchase wines that I was familiar with or make a good old Manhattan to go with dinner. And that is ok. We need something during this time to kind of count on or be stable.
For me, stable is boring. I like the fact that there are thousands of beverages that I have not tried. There are numerous cocktails that I’ve never had. The list of beers available from just North America can fill a book. So why stay comfortable?
It has been difficult to try something new, but I saw something that struck me as unique a few weeks ago. I was shopping and happened to come across what you see in the picture below.
For those of you not familiar with this fruit, this is a dragon fruit. This tropical fruit is interesting for its looks (as you can see) but more for its flavor. How do you describe it? Are we just looking at the flavors? Some say it’s a cross between a kiwi and a pear. To me, it reminds me of a Bosc pear with a drop of lime and the creamy texture of a very ripe kiwi. Its white flesh is laced with hundreds of little tiny black seeds. That alone changes the flavor profile due to the unique texture (mouthfeel of lychee fruit with black pepper).
For years, I’ve used dragon fruit nectar in dishes to add a unique perspective to pastas and shrimp sauté. Dole makes a breakfast fruit mix that I love which has it as part of the blend. But now before me, is an entire display of Dragon fruit on sale. I decided to take the plunge and pick one up.
“This is going to be easy, I’m a chef!” is what my brain is spouting off. Ok, sometimes my brain does not connect with the fact that now, I must use this. What to do? Easy……..let’s drink it somehow. For anyone that knows me, I have an extensive database on my computer with hundreds of books. Searching for Dragon fruit brings up something that I was not expecting. Dragon Fruit Mojito!!
Here’s the quick recipe:
- 6 mint leaves (of course from my garden)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz dragon fruit diced
- Juice from one small lime (about tbsp)
- 2 oz white rum
- mineral water to top (Topo Chico)
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint with the simple syrup.
- Add the dragon fruit and muddle.
- Add the lime and rum and plenty of ice
- Shake until cold
- Strain into a glass and top with mineral water
First thing I noticed about using dragon fruit are the seeds. They are in your glass and they float!! If you do not like seeds, you will want to use a fine strainer to remove these (I did on my second one). Second thing I noticed is that the flesh also floats (you can see in the picture). It’s quite tasty but hard to sip on.
Was it worth The Purchase?
It was not what I was expecting. It was good but very mild. Dragon Fruit has unique, mild flavors and it was hard to be able to pick them out. I was looking for a bit more balance between the sweetness from the syrup and the acid from the lime. I also had a hard time with the seeds. Anyone who knows me knows that is one of the reasons why I do not eat raspberries (too many freaking seeds).
Round two with a dash more syrup and the strained finished product was fantastic and quite refreshing. Served with spicy garlic shrimp over pasta that night was a great compliment to the dish. The picture above shows my first attempt. My second one went down way too easy (sorry).
The fruit cost me $5 each. That may seem like a lot, but I was able to get 4 cocktails out of it and had some of the diced fresh with breakfast. There are lots of ways to examine to see if it was worth it, but below sums up a few of my thoughts.
For the number of drinks I was able to make, it was economical. For the experience to try something new, it was awesome. To get my taste buds on to something new was educational. To work on a new food and beverage pairing was intellectual. To entertain myself for an evening was fulfilling. To be able to share this with you is always exceptionally fun.
*** Side note. ***
Just before I was getting ready to publish this article, I found out that my mentor Chef Hubert Schmeider passed away. Even though he was 92 years old, he was an icon in the Chef world by his drive, desire to push forward and NEVER sacrifice on Quality. He taught me a great deal. Not only about how to cook but WHY to cook. The most important thing I learned from him was that cooking is not something we do but who we are.
Thank you chef for always kicking me in the rear, for taking the time to show me what quality is in this world, for your passion on driving forward each day, for looking at the small details. You will never be forgotten in my mind. You were a guiding force in pushing me forward to develop this website and write.