With all of the gimmicky artificial green beverages popping up around this time of year, I took on the challenge of finding an all-natural and flavorful alternative to bring on the St. Patrick's Day cheer. Confession: none of the ingredients in this drink have much to do with Ireland. However, the color is PERFECT and the flavor is tart, fruity and packs a punch. Hence the name, reminiscent of the beautifully vibrant Irish coastline.
I found kiwi/green apple juice (the extremely Eastern European carton shown below) for the cocktail base. I'm in love with juices from that part of the world because (a) I'm from there and (b) they tend to only consist of natural colors and flavors without being too costly. If you don't have a Polish or other Eastern European grocery store nearby, consider making your own puree from fresh kiwi and green apples and mixing in some sugar and water to make the consistency similar to juice.
I stuck with vodka for the liquor because I wanted a more neutral spirit that would get lost in the vibrant bouquet of flavors featured by this cocktail. You really don't need anything fancy, just something to play nicely with the other ingredients (in other words, stay away from the plastic handles). To round out the flavor and keep the drink from getting too sweet, I incorporated a bit of lemon juice and green apple shrub. Shrub is essentially drinking vinegar infused with herbs or fruit. It may sound strange, but I've found that I keep returning to it for added depth in my drinks. If you've ever tried a stronger kombucha, the flavor profile of shrub is quite similar. The cool thing is that you can even make your own! I'll report back once I give homemade shrub a try and have some tips to share. (Don't worry if you're not a fan of vinegar - the amount in this cocktail is so small that it's almost imperceptible).
The Cliffs of Moher
- 2 oz vodka
- 2.5 oz kiwi green apple juice
- 1 tbsp green apple shrub
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until a light foam has formed and the shaker is chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Enjoy while dreaming of letting your Border Collie run free with the sheep of the Irish coast.