A Holiday Cocktail: The Smoked Sammon

19 Dec

Belvedere vodka cocktail

Whether or not you’re as food crazed as I am, everyone has food memories they associate with the holidays. Growing up, the appetizer table at Christmas dinner always included a smoked salmon platter, sometimes paired with a dill cream cheese, and often garnished with cucumber and lemon slices.

So, when I was asked by the team at Off The Grid to participate in a promotion where Toronto cocktail fanatics were asked to create a holiday tipple using Belvedere vodka*, my thoughts turned to one of my favorite holiday food memories. Those who’ve followed this blog know I’ve never shied away from unusual cocktail ingredients or smoky flavours (truthfully, I have a strong preference for brown spirits), so putting together a cocktail reminiscent of a smoked salmon platter was a welcome challenge.

The result: The Smoked Sammon (The name is a play on the name of the street I live on… and a reflection of the fact there is definitely no actual fish in this drink!).

cucumber Belvedere smoked paprika

To make this drink, step 1 is infusing the vodka with cucumber and dill. Peel, halve and de-seed half an English cucumber, then chop the halves into small chunks. Throw the cucumber into a mason jar, or any container with a tight seal, along with a handful of fresh dill. Pour in half a bottle of Belvedere vodka and close the lid. Store in the fridge for three to four days to infuse, and give the jar a gentle shake once a day.

Step 2: create the “smoke” for your cocktail. For this, I made a smoked paprika simple syrup, an idea I borrowed from Toronto chef Matt Kantor. Heat 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika in a saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, until the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool completely, then store in the fridge in a Tupperware (it’ll keep for several days).

Finally, make your drink. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and shake together 2 ounces of the infused vodka, half an ounce of your smoked paprika syrup and a few dashes of citrusy bitters to round things out (I used Bittered Sling’s Lem-Marrakech Bitters). Pour into a cocktail glass over ice, and garnish with a slice of cucumber from your infused vodka.

*Thanks to Belvedere and offthegridto.com for supplying me with a bottle of vodka to play with. To check out more cocktail creations, visit Off The Grid.

3 Responses to “A Holiday Cocktail: The Smoked Sammon”

  1. Adam December 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    *edit- 1 cup of SUGAR, 1 cup water… (it currently says 1 up smoked paprika.

  2. Jordan St. James December 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Hey cutie. I adore following your blog and have gotten some amazing ideas for my own kitchen. So thank you. I’m not sure if you know but I think there’s a typo in the simple syrup recipe. I think you meant 1 cup of sugar. I hate pointing these things out but some unsuspecting kitchenista will be making a very smoky syrup. Big kisses and happy holidays. I’m sending this recipe to my family. It might become our newest cocktail. Love ya Jordan

    Sent lovingly from my iPhone.

    • Neil Faba December 21, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Thanks for letting me know about the typo, guys. I hate to think anyone’s wasted more than a cup of smoked paprika trying to make this (not to mention that there might be people out there cursing my name…). Anyhow, all fixed now.

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