I have Morocco on my brain; could be because we are heading there in a few months. So when a friend asked me to cater and give cooking classes for her birthday dinner, it should be no surprise that we ended on a Moroccan theme.
We will greet guests at the door with little jars of soup to tantalize their taste buds. Chickpea skillet bread and braised chicken follow later. By the end of the night, everyone will want to join in the Morocco trip.
No party is complete without a signature drink (and every birthday girl should have one). This drink was born the moment I saw the kumquats at the store. Kumquats are an interesting little fruit that felt Moroccan to me at the time, so I went with it. They are similar to a tiny orange in some ways. The outside peel is bitter; the inside is a little sweet. It makes for a lovely entrance drink that set the tone for the night. And one I will make again.
For a little extra effect, I made giant cubes of ice studded with mint, kumquats and clove, one for each glass. It completes the look and offers added flavor as the ice ball melts. A total Fat and Happy party extra.
Moroccan Kumquat Martini (AKA The Steph-tini)
For each drink:
- 4 tablespoons kumquat simple syrup (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- squeeze of fresh Lemon
- sprig of mint
- dash of aromatic bitters
- 1 large ice cube
Add all ingredients to the glass and swirl. Top with a dash of bitters.
The drinks I made were small, sampler sized. Adjust to your preference.
Kumquat Simple Syrup
- 1/2 pint Kumquats
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup honey
Slice the kumquats. Place everything in a pan over medium heat. Bring to just below a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let cool then strain. The longer you can keep the kumquats in the syrup the more flavorful it will be; try to muddle them a bit, too. This insures you’ll get the most flavor out of them.
You will need an ice mold to actually make the round ball but you could use paper cups for a fun shape without the added expense of an ice mold. Just freeze water in cups and then peel away the paper.
To get the clearest ice, boil the water first and let cool covered. Fill your ice mold with flavors that will enhance the drink as it melts. For this Moroccan Punch I used lemon peel, mint, kumquats and clove.
Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: The dash of bitters really adds to this drink. It’s important not to skip this ingredient.