Tag Archives: justino

The Pink Hornet

A month or so ago, inspired by a trip to the farmer’s market, I wanted to make some strawberry rhubarb gin. I decided to do a poor man’s justino. Since my dad didn’t love me enough to be an Arab sheik and create me a billion dollar trust fund with which to buy centrifuges, I have to do it on the countertop. I’ve mentioned it here before but I’m lazy and have been drinking so the basic process is as follows:

1. Blend together your liquor, fruit, and Pectinex enzyme, just like you would any justino.

2. Because your parents didn’t love you enough to bequeath you centrifuge money, leave the result sitting on your countertop until they separate.

3. Pour through coffee filters, all the while cursing your dad. It’ll take you a few as they clog quickly. It helps if you carefully first pour through the clear top stuff. It’ll go right through. When you get to the cloudy part, strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer. That’ll save you a little time, but not as much as if your dad started an oil company instead of working for the post office.

In this case, I used strawberry and rhubarb with Beefeater gin. (I used 200g of each fruit to 750ml of Beefeater). I first sous vide cooked the rhubarb at 61C/142F for an hour. Then I blended them all together. I forgot about the mix for a couple weeks, but it’s high enough alcohol that it doesn’t matter.

After tasting I decided to add in some Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice I had picked up at Tales of the Cocktail. Man I love a good bitters. Or in this case maybe a tincture? Whatever it is, it’s fucking fantastic.

Final recipe:

The Pink Hornet*

2 oz. strawberry rhubarb gin

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. simple syrup (1:1, by weight)

1.5 droppers (about 3 dashes) of Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice

Shake and strain, my friend. Shake and strain. Or get your dad to do it for you. It’s the least he can do.

Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Poor Man’s Justino

200g hulled strawberries (so maybe 225g before)

200g rhubarb

750ml Beefeater Gin

3g Pectinex Ultra-SPL

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2” chunks and arrange into a single layer in Ziploc or vacuum bag. Cook in immersion circulator at 61C/142F for an hour until tender. (If you don’t have a circulator, you could probably just use a simmering pot of water over low heat.)

Blend everything together and set in a round jar to separate. You’ll see the mixture separate a little more every day for a few days, then it will remain pretty static. Once it stops coming apart you’re good to go.

Carefully pour the clear liquid off the top through a Chemex filter. For the rest (the bulk of it) strain through a fine mesh strainer, then through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer, then finally through Chemex filters.

(If you don’t want to do a justino, you could probably do either a rapid infusion with an ISI, or an old-school infusion by just soaking the fruit in the booze, but you won’t get the flavor intensity and sparkling clarity of a justino.)

*As I was making it, my friend got stung by a hornet so big it could be Godzilla’s enemy in the next movie. Hence the name.

Christmas Cocktail: Cranberry Vodka Justino “Martini”

Those who know me know I’m not a vodka guy. I love liquor, so the idea of drinking something scientifically designed to taste as little like liquor as possible is just silly. But the entire world is not yet enlightened, and so vodka persists as the most popular base spirit in America. (Whiskey is closing the gap though.)

I’m throwing a family Christmas party, like I do every year, and I wanted to make a crowd pleaser for the people who won’t drink a Manhattan. So I decided to tech it out a little. I was in a grocery store and saw a bunch of fresh cranberries, and thought surely there’s a cocktail there somewhere.

So step number 1 was making cranberry vodka. I used Dave Arnold’s Justino method. I blended 750 ml of Sobieski (my vodka of choice, because it’s very cheap and very flavorless) with 250g of cranberries and 2 grams of Pectinex Ultra-SPL. I let that sit for a few days until it separated.


The cranberry puree actually floated mostly to the top, so I couldn’t rack it off like I could with the banana rum or pumpkin rye. I decided to just pour it through a coffee filter and hope the particles were large enough to not pass through.


Boom, it worked.


Next  up, what to do with it. The cranberry vodka that came out was very tart. (Not surprising if you’ve ever eaten a raw cranberry.) Since I had made it for my family, many of whom are the sort to ask for a “martini” and mean something sweet, colorful, and probably with vodka served out of a martini glass, I wanted to come up with something they’d enjoy that wouldn’t make me hate myself for serving.

If there’s one liqueur that’s sort of sweet and acts like bartender ketchup, it’s St. Germain. So I constructed a cocktail.

2 oz cranberry vodka

1 oz. St Germain

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. 1:1 simple syrup

3 drops saline solution

1/2 dropper (roughly 1.5 dashes) orange bitters

I shook and strained into a chilled martini glass, and garnished with a lemon twist. I meant to snap up a picture, but I had a family Christmas party underway.

The guests seemed to love it. It looked pretty and didn’t taste like liquor. It wasn’t the sort of drink I’d generally make for myself, but it wasn’t bad. If I were making it for me I might dial back the simple to 1/4 oz, as I tend to like things a bit less sweet than your average “martini” drinker. But really it wasn’t cloying even like that.