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Garden Variety

Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: E. Spencer Toy
Total time 45 mins
Yield Makes 2 drinks, plus about 3/4 cup leftover gastrique
Move over, simple syrups: Your more sophisticated French cousin, the gastrique, has arrived. This acid and sugar reduction cranks up cocktails' flavors (and keeps for up to a month in the fridge). Here, it complements the heady sugarcane rum in the Garden Variety by Daniel Shoemaker of Portland's Teardrop Cocktail Lounge.


  • Fig Gastrique:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugarcane rum, like Mount Gay
  • 8 fresh figs, quartered
  • Cocktail:
  • 10 basil leaves, divided
  • 3 strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided
  • 1/4 cup fig gastrique
  • 1/2 cup sugarcane rum, such as Mt. Gay
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • About 1/4 tsp. Angostura bitters
  • Club soda to taste

How to Make It

  1. Make gastrique: Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until syrup starts to brown. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk vinegar into syrup. Add rum and figs; simmer 15 minutes and chill.

  2. Make cocktail: Muddle 8 basil leaves, 2 strawberries, gastrique, and ice in a cocktail shaker, until fruit is in small chunks. Add rum, Cointreau, and bitters and shake. Strain into 2 ice-filled glasses and top with a splash of soda. Garnish each glass with 2 strawberry quarters and a basil leaf.