Fresh or frozen
One happy way to take advantage of the strawberry season it to make a cocktail out of them. I discovered while making my roasted strawberry ice cream that roasting the strawberries for many applications is the way to go. The heat intensifies the strawberry flavor by concentrating the juices, and in the case of ice cream, prevents fruity ice bombs. Sad fresh berries or even frozen ones are transformed by the heat and a little bit of added sweetness. I am trying to avoid refined sugar as much as possible, so I typically use a sugar substitute, maple syrup, or coconut sugar as the sweetner.
Two Recipes in One
Margaritas are one of my favorite alcoholic drinks, and I have tested them with other fruit rather than the usual lemon or lime. I’ve found that blood oranges, while pretty, don’t have enough acidity and flavor to carry the day. Strawberries, especially when roasted, hold their own. I’ve written a recipe for two drinks, but you could certainly make a big batch for a party. Roast a 16-ounce bag of frozen strawberries, or the same weight of fresh berries. Your yield will be enough roasted strawberries for 6 and 5 drinks, respectively.
Play with your salt
I had fun playing around with various ground peppers to flavor the salted rim since the marriage of strawberries and pepper is a popular one. My favorite spice match is toasted and ground Sichuan chili peppercorns. My second choice is red Kashmiri chili powder that is mild, fruity, and a surprisingly good match with the strawberries. Ground black pepper is also a happy pairing and an ingredient we all have in the pantry. Last but not least, one of my favorite Indian spice mixes is chaat masala. If you want to give this a go, you can make chaat masala, or buy it. I recommend the MDH brand, but any chaat masala you find will work.
Up or Frozen
I prefer my margaritas straight up, but if you want to make frozen ones, this recipe works. It is full-flavored enough to accommodate a couple of ice cubes blended in. As always, I encourage you to experiment with my suggestions and spice up your cocktail. If you want a sweet spice idea, cinnamon would be where I would start. This is a perfect party drink, so consider roasting a couple of batches of strawberries and making a big pitcher of a well-balanced, not too sweet, roasted strawberry Margaritas. If you want a non-alcoholic drink, simply replace the tequila and triple sec with your favorite sparkling water.
P.S. If you like making homemade infusions, take a peek at my homemade mango liqueur!
See the Notes below before you cook.
Roasted Strawberry Margaritas
- 1 pound strawberries ~ Fresh or frozen; for yield, see the Notes below
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup ~ Or sugar of your choice
Mixing the Drinks
- 4 ounces tequila
- 2 ounces triple sec ~ Or Cointreau
- 6 tablespoons roasted strawberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar ~ Plus 1/4 water = 6 tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice ~ Lime juice works, you may need more sweetener. Save half a citrus for moistening the rim of the glasses.
- 1 cup ice cubes ~ For glasses and the shaker
Optional Salt & Spice
- 1 tablespoon margarita salt ~ Kosher salt is a good substitute
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan chili pepper ~ To mix with the salt; see Notes below for more ideas
- Gather your ingredients and turn the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- If using fresh strawberries, wash and hull them. Cut the berries into halves, if small, or into quarters if large. In a baking dish large enough to hold the berries in one layer, spread them evenly, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, giving them a good stir at the 15-minute mark. When the berries have shriveled and the juices concentrated, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool a bit.
- While the strawberries are roasting, make a batch of simple syrup by mixing 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 water in a small pan. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before adding to the margarita.
Mixing the Cocktails
- Add ice to the glasses to chill them. In a blender, add the strawberries, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup (starting with a couple of tablespoons), and blend until smooth. Taste and add more simple syrup if you want a sweeter drink. In a cocktail shaker, add the strawberry mixture, and ice cubes. Give the drinks a good shake. Dump the ice out of the glasses and dry them if you are lining the rim with salt. Use a wedge of lemon to moisten the edges and then add the salt. Pour your strawberry margaritas and enjoy!
- Keeping: if you have any roasted strawberries leftover, they will keep nicely in the refrigerator for several days. Otherwise, freeze them for 2 to 3 months.
- Roasted strawberry yields: I have found that a one-pound bag of frozen strawberries gives you about 1 1/4 cups of roasted strawberries or about 6 drinks. One pound of fresh strawberries gives you 1 cup or 5 drinks.
- Flavorings: If you like a salted Margarita cocktail rim, consider toasting some Sichuan peppercorns, grind, and mix 1/4 teaspoons of the chili into 1 tablespoon of Margarita salt. I also liked the same amount of ground black pepper and chaat masala. Tajin, a Mexican seasoning salt, another good idea, is used instead of the Margarita salt.
- This recipe is easily made in bigger batches. If you are going to the trouble of roasting the fruit, double or triple the amount you need and pop it into the freezer for another cocktail hour.
- If you would like to make this drink non-alcoholic, replace the tequila and triple sec with sparkling water of your choice.