Jesse Carr, Bar Director at Justine, offers a twist on typical, tomato-based cocktails like a Bloody Mary. “I love the idea of taking elements out of their normal spaces,” he said. Instead of featuring savory flavors, “La Recolter” (French for ‘the harvest”) is a slightly sweet, refreshing drink, perfect for New Orleans’ still warm September days. Justine pays homage to the French culinary culture of New Orleans, as does this drink, which uses seasonal, local ingredients like tomatoes and strawberries. French spirits like eau de vie, Cognac and Armagnac star in several cocktails on Justine’s menu, and though the restaurant has only been open for a short time due to the pandemic, it has become one of Chartreuse’s largest accounts in the United States. Jesse is excited to challenge his creativity, crafting drinks inspired by the cultures of France and New Orleans. As he noted, “I’m really passionate about a theme.”
La Recolter (The Harvest)
1.5 ounces tomato infused gin (see below)
0.5 ounces dry vermouth
0.75 ounces strawberry black tea cordial (see below)
0.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a shaker. Strain over one large cube of ice. Garnish with two sliced strawberries on a skewer.
2 creole tomatoes
1 750ml bottle of gin
Blend in a blender, strain through fine strainer or cheesecloth.
Strawberry tea cordial
1 quart hot water
5 earl grey tea bags
1 pint strawberries
Sugar as needed
Heat water, tea and strawberries over medium heat until the strawberries fall apart. Blend and strain through fine strainer or cheesecloth. Measure the amount of liquid left and add an equal part sugar to liquid.
- Pick a gin that is bombastic. Justine uses Citadel, which has a more London dry style. A good alternative is Ford’s gin.
- The tomato gin can also be used to make a Bloody Mary, a Gimlet or a classic Martini. Jesse recommends a ratio of 2:1 (gin to vermouth) and using a very dry vermouth like Dolin or Noilly Prat
- The cordial can replace simple syrup in other cocktails or be mixed with a little seltzer and lemon juice to make a mocktail.