It's that time of year when you start seeing those beautiful, deep purple orbs on the grocery store shelves. I actually grew up in Concord, Massachusetts- the birthplace of the Concord grape (invented in my hometown in 1849 by a guy named Ephraim Wales Bull- thanks, Wikipedia!).
I can't recall my mom ever buying grape juice for me and my sister when we were little- not sure if that was because she thought it was too sugary, or because spills left a really bad stain. In any case, bottled purple grape juice has pretty much nothing on the real, fresh Concord grapes. They are sweet, tangy, and aromatic- a perfect cocktail ingredient, you may say. Well, read on- you just might find the perfect recipe for your evening tipple.
The Concord Cup
1 1/2 oz. Cold River gin
1/2 oz. Drambuie
1/2 oz. Royal Rose Strawberry-Fennel Syrup
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
a handful of fresh Concord grapes (6-8)
a small sprig of rosemary
First, muddle the fruit and herbs: add the grapes, reserving one or two for garnishing, to a pint glass. Add the rosemary and muddle for a moment or two to release the grape juice, colors from the skins, and the oils from the rosemary. Next, measure and pour in the syrup, lemon juice, Drambuie, and gin. Ad ice to the top, then shake to combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a grape. Toast to Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott.