I was so intrigued when I called a local supermarket to check prices on persimmons and the young man who answered the produce department phone said, "What is that?"
"Oh," I said, "It's a type of fruit, pretty small, orange, kind of looks like a tomato..."
"Hmm, I don't think we have that. I've never heard of that."
I called another grocery store in town, this one a larger, well-known national chain.
"A persimmon? It's usually pale orange or sometimes reddish, kind of looks like a miniature pumpkin or acorn squash..."
"We don't have that. Wait, let me ask my manager--OK, she actually says we have that."
It seems there is a PR opportunity for this sweet little Japanese fruit; the market saturation is zilch! I love to work with persimmons when making cocktails, and am happy to share this recipe with you today. Persimmons are earthy and sweet, making them perfect for mixing into cocktails. Fun fact: the Modern Greek name for the fruit is λωτός (lotos) which leads some to believe that this is the lotus referred to in Homer's Odyssey! It's easy to see why, with its dainty star-shaped interior and stunning hillside trees. Inside, the fruits are fleshy and soft, much like a plum. This winter I paid about one dollar per fruit, which is pretty expensive compared to some other fruits we could be using, but we have to take into consideration that they are not locally-produced so the transportation costs are much higher.
The best way to use persimmons in cocktails is to simmer them into a simple syrup, so you can extract the maximum flavor. The delicate profile would likely otherwise be overridden by any strong spirit. For example, if you muddled persimmons with bourbon, you probably wouldn't get much taste out of them because the bourbon would overwhelm the flavor. Similarly, if you infused persimmons into a spirit like gin, there would not be much flavor transfer IMHO, because it's just too light of a fruit. That's why I recommend simmering them for a long time so you can take advantage of all the flavors Mother Nature has to offer us.
Shake with ice and strain, garnish with rosemary.
And there you have it! Now you know what persimmons are, about how much you can expect to pay for them, and a creative way to incorporate them into your seasonal parties. If you try persimmons in other recipes or substitute the syrup for other syrups in similar drinks, I would love to hear about it. Please let me know how it turns out. We made these margaritas for a dinner party collaboration with Sarah Kemp and Brittany Lauren. The tequila used was Espelon, which is a good mid-shelf brand. My other favorite tequilas are Olmeca Altos and, of course, Patron. Enjoy!
Thank you to our amazing team of vendors for pulling together such a lovely shoot! Photography - Brittany Lauren Photography, www.brittanylauren.net | Coordination - Sarah Kemp | Florals - Ponderosa & Thyme, www.ponderosaandthyme.com | Specialty Rentals - Something Borrowed, www.somethingborrowedpdx.com | Rentals - The Party Place, www.thepartyplacepdx.com | Paper Goods - Kelsey Malie Calligraphy, www.kelseymaliecalligraphy.com | Cocktails - Mint & Mirth, www.mintandmirth.com | Models: Kassala Holdsclaw - @kassalaholdsclaw, Aurora Bodenhamer - @robodenhame, Lois Catuna - @loisrusnac, Jason Inscho - @jasonalaninscho
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