This winter will be the sixth anniversary of me first trying this cocktail, and I remember it like it was yesterday: I was visiting the bar Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco ahead of its opening, and then-bar manager/mixologist Todd Smith made me a few cocktails. When I sipped this one I had a few realizations: that the cocktail was amazing, that black pepper and strawberries is a winning combination, and that I wanted to write about cocktails for a living so I could tell people about drinks like this.
As odd as it sounds, this is an important drink in my life. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Rouge no. 10
Adapted from a recipe by Todd Smith and Marcovaldo Dionysos
1.5 fl. oz. Black Pepper Gin*
.5 fl. oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Rich Simple Syrup
2-3 Small Strawberries
.5 fl. oz. Pastis or Absinthe
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with pastis or absinthe, and discard extra liquid. Muddle strawberries with simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add gin and lime juice and shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker. Strain cocktail into prepared glass. Garnish with a strawberry and fresh ground pepper.
*Black Pepper Gin: To about 5 ounces of gin, add a tablespoon of black peppercorns and allow to infuse for one day. If it's too peppery, add more gin.