Thanksgiving Persimmon Cocktail
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To be honest, I have been trying to perfect a persimmon cocktail for quite some time now. A year to be precise. I started experimenting the little orange fruit last fall but had very little success creating a drink I’d categorize as a quality cocktail. But now, it’s almost Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), and I thought that it would be nice to swap the traditional pumpkin cocktail with something a little more unconventional. So, this year, I stepped up my persimmon game, and in anticipation of turkey day, I devoted the whole of last week trying to make the perfect persimmon cocktail.
So now you might ask me: “why the hell did it take you that long to make good persimmon cocktail?
Well, incorporating persimmons into a cocktail was a tricky thing that went way beyond the initial struggle of deciding what persimmon to use.
For one, the fruit, although pretty delicious on its own, is rather mild and almost any other ingredient quickly overpowers it, so balancing the flavors was trickier than I originally anticipated. Not to mention that the fruit’s unique texture makes it impossible to juice. So I tried soaking it in spirits, which was ok but the infusions lacked that persimmon kick I was going after. And when I tried using a puree instead, I ended up with something that resembled a cheap slushy-like concoction that kids might go cray cray about rather than a cocktail any adult would ever drink.
So after a few days of scratching my head, thinking of alternative ways to incorporate persimmons into a cocktail, and trying close to 30 different recipes, I finally found the magical ingredient – JAM JAMITY JAM JAM!
Yep, homemade jam – the best (and in my experience the only way) to make a high-quality persimmon cocktail. The jam was not only easy to make, but it also gave the cocktail that persimmon kick that the infusions couldn’t. More importantly, unlike the puree, the jam actually dissolves when shaken hard, giving the cocktail that liquidy “cocktail-like” texture that I desired.
Speaking of desires, I’ve always thought that persimmons would make a great Fizz, and now that I had the magical jam, I was finally able to perfect my recipe.
I made this fizz spin-off with rum instead of gin, mainly because the juniper of the gin was too dominant for the persimmon and the latter just couldn’t hold its ground. Just a quarter of fresh lemon juice and two dashes of walnut bitters was enough to balance the sweetness of the jam and give the cocktail more complex, woody-like character. And, as with every fizz, I needed some protein to make the foam we all fancy. And I know egg whites are a great way to achieve that, but they do have that horrendous smell, so I decided to pivot a bit, and I used aquafaba (chickpea brine) instead. (I recently made a post on aquafaba and its cocktail benefits, so if you’ve missed it, go check it out))
To finish this fizz riff, I used grapefruit La Croix to give the cocktail some citrus notes without overwhelming the overall persimmon taste.
Whether you are looking for a delightful fall edition to feature at your bar or a Thanksgiving cocktail to share with friends and family, this persimmon sipper is the perfect autumn drink and another bar quality cocktail you can make at home.
Thanksgiving Persimmon Cocktail
- 2 oz White Rum
- 0.25 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- .75 oz Aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 2 dashes Walnut Bitters
- 2 heaping bar spoons Persimmon Jam (recipe below)
- Splash Grapefruit La Croix
- Fuyu Persimmon (for garnish)
Add all ingredients, besides the La Croix soda and the Fuyu persimmon, in a cocktail shaker
Dry shake without ice for 10 seconds. Then add ice and shake again for 15 to seconds
Strain into a tall glass and add a splash of soda to create a thick foam
Cut a Fuyu persimmon into wheels and use them for garnish. You can sprinkle them with sugar and caramelize them using a blowtorch prior to garnishing the cocktail. The caramelized persimmon wheel would be a great snack to go along with the cocktail 🙂
Use Hachiya persimmons for the jam. Before you make the jam, make sure the fruit is soft and squishy as this is an indicator that the fruit is ripe. The mature fruit has a jellylike texture, and it almost looks like it's gone bad. It might not be very appealing to eat the fruit itself, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a delicious jas with the ripe persimmons pulp that is hiding under the bruised skin. If you buy persimmons that are not ready, the fastest way to ripen the would be to freeze them overnight and then defrost them.
- 5-6 Hachiya Persimmons
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 Orange
- 1 Bar Spoon Corn Starch
- Wash the persimmons. Using a spoon scrape the inside of the fruit, discarding all skins.
- Peel a few orange (skin) strips using a vegetable peeler.
- Place the persimmon pulp in a blender and pulse until you get a smooth puree.
- In a deep cooking pot, add the persimmon puree, sugar, and 2-3 orange peel strips. Boil for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Stirring constantly, so your puree doesn't burn (or it will get an offputting burnt brown color.)
- In a small bowl, mix 5 ounces of water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the mixture to the persimmon puree and boil on medium heat for another 15 minutes, (stirring occasionally), or until slightly thickened.
- Take the jam off the stove and let it cool down. Run the jam through a funnel to discard the orange peels. Pour the peel-free jam into sterilized sealable jars and seal, label, store in the freezer.