Tears of Chios: the most beautiful Mediterranean cocktail you ever did have
This drink! We can’t say enough good things. The only tears it will bring are ones of joy. We mentioned yesterday how we discovered this delicious specimen during our frequent trips to the Liberty Hotel Bar. If you don’t call Boston home and can’t easily trek to the Liberty, fret not. Today we’ll tell you how to make it at home.
The Tears of Chios is what we’ve come to call a ‘Bottle #9’ cocktail. You’ll recall from our Bottles We Can’t Live Without post that we think you can build quite a respectable home bar with nine bottles of liquor: eight to get you the essentials and the ninth to add your personal favorite (We’ll talk more about bottle #9 in Monday’s post, part 3 of our Build a Bar series). Choosing Bottle #9 is a big decision, and here at Roberts and June we consider it one of our services to you our readers to try out a wide variety of potential #9s (by my count we currently have 13 #9s on our shelf), and to let you know what they’re like and what you can do with them.
The Tears of Chios’ #9 is a Greek liqueur called Skinos Mastiha. It comes from the resin of the mastic tree, an evergreen native to, you guessed it, the island of Chios. It’s taste is a little grassy, a little piney, and quite sweet, though not syrupy. And it invokes wanderlust of rolling, white stone Grecian villages and radiant blue skies free of charge.
It’s quite unique, but still easy to drink. It’s also, however, very hard to find. We have yet to see it on the shelves of a local liquor store. A major plus about moving to DC, though, is that we can order liquor online! (insert: raucous cheers and applause). We took immediate advantage of our newfound liberties and ordered Skinos. Click. Click. Click. Then Skinos delivered to our door. The internet is amazing!
We’ve provided it 2 ways, of course, because we know you might want to just try it by yourself or you might want to make it for your next dinner party. We served this to our very first dinner guests at our new home in DC. Our guests are incredible hosts themselves and have been fabulous friends, especially during our recent multi-state move, so we wanted a drink that was new, and celebratory, and beautiful. And again, it did the trick.
Recipe for One
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Skinos Mastiha
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- 3 basil leaves (plus a sprig of those little ones for garnish)
- 2 red grapes (plus a few more for garnish) We used black grapes because they were in our awesome From the Farmer farm share, but as long as you don’t use green ones, you’re good.
- Muddle the basil leaves and grapes in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Add the vodka, Skinos, and lime juice.
- Fill the shaker with ice to above the level of the liquid, and shake vigorously until your hands are cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with the extra little basil leaves, and drop a few grapes into the bottom of the glass.
- Appreciate the beauty of the drink you just made, and then taste its deliciousness.
The Recipe for More than One (approx 12)
- 1.5 cups vodka
- 1.5 cups Skinos Mastiha
- 3/4 cup lime juice
- 36 basil leaves (approx 2 packs of these overpriced herbs that they sell everywhere OR one large bundle)
- 1 large bunch of red grapes
Note: Your biggest challenge in making this for more people is that the ingredients won’t fit in a shaker and instead you’ll need a pitcher, preferably 2: a pitcher to make the cocktail in and a pitcher to serve the cocktail in.
- In pitcher #1 (or any comparable vessel; looks don’t matter in this case), muddle the majority of the basil and a large handful of grapes (24 if you want to be precise).
- Pour in vodka, skinos, and lime.
- Add ice to the pitcher and stir for a solid 30 sec-1 minute (because you can’t shake the drink, you need to stir enough to compensate).
- In your serving pitcher–the pretty one, preferably clear glass– line the bottom with another handful of grapes.
- Strain the cocktail into the serving pitcher and garnish with a few sprigs of basil.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.