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A grown-up refresher.

Move over, simple syrups: Your more sophisticated French cousin, the gastrique, has arrived. This acid and sugar reduction cranks up cocktails' flavors: Here, it complements the heady sugarcane rum in the Garden Variety by Daniel Shoemaker of Portland's Teardrop Cocktail Lounge.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FOR THE GASTRIQUE (MAKES 1 CUP) Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until syrup starts to brown. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 1/3 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, then add 1/4 cup sugarcane rum (like Mount Gay) and 8 fresh figs, quartered. Simmer 15 minutes and chill.

FOR THE COCKTAIL (MAKES 2 DRINKS) Muddle 8 basil leaves, 2 strawberries (quartered), 1/4 cup gastrique, and ice in a shaker. Add 1/2 cup sugarcane rum, 2 tbsp. Cointreau, and 1/4 tsp. Angostura bitters and shake. Strain into 2 ice-filled glasses, top with a splash of club soda.

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Title Annotation:The West at its best
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Aug 1, 2010
Words:158
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