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Tomatini - the summer cocktail you need in your repertoire

Tuesday 23 June 2015

There's something pretty badass about a signature drink, isn't there? And I don't mean something run of the mill, like a glass of Pinot Grigio (I do not seem like a badass when I order this. I seem like a Real Housewife)

No, I mean something like an Old Fashioned, or a shot of bourbon on the rocks. Or even better, this jazzy new cocktail, the Tomatini, which has become my new favourite drink.

I was recently in Amsterdam on a vodka-tasting trip with Ketel One. One evening, we had dinner with one of the Nolet Distillery's head honchos, Bob Nolet (11th generation of the family business) When I asked Bob about his favourite way to drink Ketel One, he told me of the Tomatini, which was created by Jimmy Barrett de Cecco in Dubai.

Bob's trick is to leave his drink in the hands of a capable barman (or mixologist, if you're that way inclined). Instead of asking for a specific drink, ask them how they would best prepare a certain spirit, or simply for their speciality. 

Or just order this, because once you've tasted it, you won't want anything else. And just by ordering it, you'll be almost as cool as Bob himself. 

It has similar notes to a Bloody Mary, but without the thick spiciness. The finished cocktail is a translucent pale pink, speckled with pepper, with a taste that is pure summer. It's like a fresh consommé, or caprese salad (without the mozzarella) with a hefty kick of vodka. If you don't like your cocktails super strong, then top it off with some sparkling water.  

The real zinger in this is the white balsamic vinegar. I'd never even heard of this before the tomatini came into my life, but it's a zesty, punchy little number. At a push, you could use regular balsamic... but it muddies up the colour and is just a little too rich. The white version is lighter and gives the cocktail plenty of pep, without overpowering the delicate balance of flavours. If you didn't know it was in there, you'd just be wondering what that vaguely familiar tang was.

The Ketel One Tomatini


1 fresh tomato (or 2-3 cherry tomatoes)
50 ml Ketel One Vodka
15 ml White balsamic vinegar (this is easy to pick up in any deli/fancy food shop)
15 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 ml Sugar syrup (you can skip this if you don't need the sweetness - I personally don't use it)
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Black pepper

Cut the tomato into 8-10 chunks and muddle in a cocktail shaker. 

Add the remaining ingredients with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with black pepper.

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