Lately, I've noticed the words "jam" and "cocktail" paired together frequently. It makes sense that jam cocktails are popular, especially in the colder months when fresh fruit isn't always available. Instead of muddling fruit with simple syrup at the bottom of a cocktail shaker, adding some sweetened jam will achieve the same effect — and it's a great backup when the farmers market is closed for the season.

One of the things that's wonderful about making jam with fresh, seasonal fruit is that you get to enjoy that fruit later when it's no longer in season. That's the way it works with this cocktail. Strawberries and rhubarb are no longer in season. Vodka tonics or gin and tonics are usually thought of as warm-weather drinks because they're so refreshing, but there's no law that says they can't be enjoyed year-round. Just like my Christmas Gin & Tonic, the cocktail I created with jam and vodka can be sipped in the chillier seasons if you feel like it. I used strawberry-rhubarb jam, but you can use any berry-flavored jam you have on hand.

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I had to play with the ratio of jam to vodka before I got the jam to shine through. I used Ménage À Trois berry vodka in my cocktail, but if you want to use non-flavored vodka, I suggest you add another tablespoon of jam.

You'll want a sturdy wire whisk for mixing the vodka and the jam together. I first tried to mix them together using a cocktail spoon, but it took a vigorous whisking to break up the jam.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces berry-flavored or unflavored vodka
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry-rhubarb jam, or berry-flavored jam of your choice (add an additional tbsp of jam if using an unflavored vodka)
  • tonic (I always use Q Tonic. It's made with agave instead of high fructose corn syrup. The quinine, not the sugar, dominates.)
  • squeeze of lime

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, whisk the vodka and jam together until it's as incorporated as you can get it.
  2. Add a squeeze of lime.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Shake vigorously, until the outside of the shaker is frosted over.
  5. Pour into a rocks glass filled halfway with ice.
  6. Top with tonic. Stir gently.
  7. Garnish with lime wedge, if desired.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.