Cardamom Blood Orange Mojitos with Sweet Basil Caviar

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 20 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 2 hr
Cook: 5 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

INFUSED VODKA:
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • Pitcher of European vodka
    BASIL CAVIAR:
    • 1/2 cup raw sugar
    • 1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
    • 2 grams sodium alginate
    • 2 cups demineralized bottled water
    • 3 grams calcium lactate
      MOJITOS:
      • 4 blood oranges, sliced
      • 12 fresh Thai basil leaves
      • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
      • Ice
      • 2 cups fresh blood orange juice
      • 1 cup sparkling water
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      Directions

      For the infused vodka: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Throw in the cardamom and toast until slightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Add the cardamom to the vodka along with the orange zest and vanilla bean. Stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

      For the basil caviar: Combine 1 cup water and the raw sugar in a small pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it starts to simmer, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth (be careful when blending hot liquids). Strain into a bowl and add the sodium alginate. Whisk for 1 minute, until thick.

      Whisk the bottled water and calcium lactate in a bowl. Suck the basil syrup into a syringe and squeeze small balls into the calcium bath. Let them soak for no more than 1 minute. Scoop out the basil caviar using a slotted spoon and rinse in a bowl of fresh water.

      For the mojitos: For each drink, muddle slices from 1 orange, 3 to 4 basil leaves and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a glass. Throw in some ice cubes, 1 shot infused vodka, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup sparkling water and top with 1 tablespoon basil caviar.

      Photo reprinted with permission from Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' For Trouble by Nadia G., copyright (c) 2011. Published by Ballantine Books.

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      • on April 18, 2013

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        OK--after seeing this episode I had to show off and make this. Work intensive but so cool. Loved the science of the basil caviar. Who knew. Everybody loved the drink and could not believe how the caviar was made. I love cardamom and I love blood oranges. Both very under utilized in this country. This drink is not only delicious, it is a huge conversation starter. One tip is to remember blood oranges are seasonal. Now is a good time. Love Nadia G. She is so innovative. Every recipe I have made of hers rocks!

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