Shine On, Strawberry: Melissa@Market

| June 7, 2011

When I was around 5 or 6 years old, Strawberry Shortcake™ ruled my world. (Along with Star Wars, but that’s a different story.) The Berry Bake Shop™ dominated my collection and stood surrounded by Strawberry’s friends: Blueberry Muffin™, Apple Dumpling™, Raspberry Tart™, the Purple Pieman™, Orange Blossom™ (not really a baked good, but whatever!), Lemon Meringue™, and Huckleberry Pie™. But, don’t be confused. Strawberry S. was the real star here. The bake shop was shaped like a strawberry. The confections you could “build” contained strawberries, and the most distinctive scent of all the dolls came from Strawberry. (Let’s be honest, Raspberry Tart™ smelled terrible.)

Strawberry Shortcake. Source: fourthgradenothing

Why did Hasbro (American Greetings, at the time) choose Strawberry as their leading lady? Well, for one, strawberries are *awesome*. Who doesn’t love strawberries? Have you ever seen even the pickiest kid look at the bright red, juicy berry and say, “yuck”? If you’ve ever attempted a pick-your-own strawberry excursion, you know it’s next to impossible to actually arrive at home with any berries left. No pits or seeds to spit out; the chin-dripping juice of a ripe peach in a convenient pop-in-your-mouth size; the visual appeal of vibrant red fruit against woodsy green stems; a sweet smell that tickles your nose before it even hits your taste buds- yes, the strawberry has it all.

Margie's Strawberries

In my classes, strawberries are my favorite illustration of seasonal eating. Anyone who’s ever purchased (or grown their own) strawberries straight from the farm knows they are vastly different from those white-centered, crunchy behemoths obtained at a chain grocery. Their season is actually quite short (usually a month to six weeks in most areas) and, because they don’t ripen once picked, strawberries must be plucked at their peak and eaten almost immediately. At the Farmer’s Market, the berries are often smaller, but oh-so juicy with no need to be hulled. Strawberries are instant gratification in a fruit. They not only *can* be experienced instantaneously, but *must* be.

Even the name “strawberry” has significance. According to Harold McGee in “On Food and Cooking”, the word “berry” has it’s root in Indo-European language and means “to shine”. Meanwhile, the word “straw” has origins that point to a definition of “to spread”. Put those together and you have “to spread shine”. Strawberry. Spreading sunshine. Shine on, strawberry, shine on.

This season, I’ve featured strawberries in salads and dressings and muffins. Now, let’s put them in a cocktail! A perfect summer sip that doesn’t even feel guilty, because it’s packed with vitamin C and looks so darn good to boot. It’s Strawberry Shortcake™, all grown-up.

Strawberry Sipper
(The Food & Wine recipe I riffed off of called this a “Redhead in Bed”. Being rather naive when it comes to double-entendre…I thought Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” was about exercise for YEARS…I didn’t get the moniker at first. Now, I see it’s more like [How to Get A] Redhead in Bed. I think this drink is too pure for such a saucy name. But, how you use it is up to you.)
Serves about 10.

Gather ingredients. 3 pounds (about 2 quarts) of strawberries, stemmed and hulled, if needed. 2/3 cup sugar (you may use less if the strawberries are quite ripe and juicy). 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of citrus vodka (for non-alcoholic version use seltzer/sparkling water or club soda). 1/4 cup (about 2 limes) freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon may also be substituted). Ice. 1/3 cup chilled Riesling wine (omit for non-alcoholic version). Mint leaves, optional.

Prepare equipment: blender, pitcher and serving glasses.

Toss strawberries with sugar and let them sit for about 10 minutes or so to release some of their juices. While this is happening, squeeze limes (or lemons) for juice. In the blender, place 1 cup of ice, half of strawberries/juice, half of vodka/non-alcoholic substitute (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp), 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice and a few mint leaves, if desired. Blend and pour into pitcher. Repeat with second half of ingredients.

To serve, pour from pitcher to a glass filled halfway with ice and top with a splash of Riesling (if using alcohol). Garnish with strawberry and mint leaf, if desired. I like to serve with a straw. Enjoy summer!

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Category: Beverages, Melissa@Market, Recipe Vault

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  1. An Easy (no, REALLY) Summer Dinner Party: Melissa | July 19, 2011
  1. sweetlife says:

    I adored strawberry shortcake when i was young, even had a strawberry shortcake bday party!! so true the grocery sotre berriess are the worst, thanks for the fab cocktail!!

    ps, I freaked when I found out she wasn’t talking about excercise!! lol

  2. Peggy says:

    Oh yum! This is definitely going to be my weekend cocktail – we’re still getting strawberries in our CSA so I’m golden =)

  3. Simply Life says:

    wow, that first picture of the strawberries is just gorgeous!!!

  4. Those are some gorgeous strawberries and the strawberry sipper sounds delightful!

  5. Devaki says:

    Wonderful – I must make this for Sunday brunch! Please submit this wonderful recipe to the strawberry battle line up on my blog? 🙂 Pretty pweeze with a berry on top!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. Patty says:

    Hummmm…yum????!!!! Love strawberries and alcohol so this recipe runs right up my alley!

  7. Liz says:

    Ooh, this strawberry drink looks divine. Wish I had one to sip on now as our weather is quite hot and sultry. YUM!

  8. Sean says:

    Hi Melissa,

    That was an interesting information about strawberries. Your Strawberry sipper also look delicious and perfect for the heat of the sun. The recipe doesn’t look so complicated so I could try this one. Thanks!

  9. Wendy says:

    Stopping by from Full Plate Thursday. This looks great! I would love to have you link up to my 2-in-1 Thursday hop.

    Around My Family Table

  10. Biren says:

    As a kid, I was fascinated with stories about strawberry fairies. They really are a pretty fruit. Your strawberry sipper sounds so refreshing. I would definitely add in the riesling. 🙂

  11. Camille says:

    To spread sunshine — who knew? Strawberry Shortcake brings back memories. Maybe I can obliterate them with a pitcher of Strawberry Sipper.

  12. I still have my strawberry shortcake quilt from my 8 year old obsession with her. Now I just worship her through Eton Mess, homemade strawberry jam and daiquiris. Let strawberry sipper join the many ways we are blessed!

  13. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I always get excited when I see your post, it is like unwrapping a little surprise package. The strawberry photo’s are awesome and I will be having a glass of that wonderful beverage! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday, have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen


  15. Katie says:

    Oh my! That strawberry sipper is making my mouth water! I totally agree with you on store bought strawberries. It is hard to enjoy those after eating fresh ones. Thanks for coming over to share your recipe at These Chicks Cooked Recipe Spotlight. Have a great weekend!

  16. Jill Colonna says:

    I adore the sound of this cocktail, Belinda. Why do I always just think of eating strobs and never drinking it? Sure is a great summer ahead, now! I love how you talked about strobs and childhood: we had the same. Growing up in Scotland, where the best strawberries in the universe are (hehee), picking them fresh from the field with 3 bites while still warm in the sun, wiping off the straw…. oooh, there’s nothing quite like these memories and not like picking a punnet at the supermarket!. Too right. Great read and lovely strawberry shots (pun totally intended).

  17. Jill Colonna says:

    My sincere apologies to you, Melissa. I automatically thought that it was Belinda that wrote this. Super post!

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