Cardamom Blood Orange Mojitos with Sweet Basil Caviar

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Infused Vodka: 

3 cardamom pods

Pitcher of European vodka

Zest of 1 blood orange

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Photo reprinted with permission from Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' For Trouble by Nadia G., copyright (c) 2011. Published by Ballantine Books.