Figs Are The Cocktail Ingredient You Didn't Know You Needed

Fig cocktails
Fig cocktails - Victoria Kondysenko / Shutterstock

Fresh, seasonal fruit can't be beat, whether you enjoy it on the plate or in a cup. When figs are in season, you can enjoy them in a multitude of ways. Think dessert tarts, salad toppings, or even simple, sweet slices that are certain to satiate. One of the absolute best ways to savor figs, however, is in a cocktail. Figs complement a variety of spirits and anchor all kinds of creative and delicious drinks with new, vibrant flavors.

The reason fresh figs work so well across cocktails is that they're sweet and adaptable, and they pair well with plenty of fruits, flavors, and spirits. Jersey City restaurant The Table, for instance, has a fig, strawberry, and ginger cocktail that plays with the versatile nature of the fresh fruit. You can likewise pair figs with walnuts or citrus, not to mention wine, whiskey, or bourbon as an alcoholic base.

While fig cocktails do allow for variety, you may want to think twice before simply adding them to your shaker. To maximize the fruit's flavor, consider following a recipe for a fig jam or syrup that you can add to your drink.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Maximize Flavor By Cooking Your Figs First

Bowl of figs
Bowl of figs - Kajakiki / Getty Images

Raw figs work well for cocktails in a pinch, but cooking them beforehand brings extra fig flavor to a cocktail's forefront. "Fruits like the fig tend to be difficult to pull flavor [from] just by chopping and adding to a mixing glass," Juan Arboleda, The Table's lead bartender, told Tasting Table. "I tend to get the most flavor by cutting the figs in half top to bottom, then laying them on a sheet pan on parchment paper."

Specifically, Arboleda makes his fig jam by baking figs for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. "This amount of time will allow the figs to open up and release [their] natural juices," he said. "You'll see it start to ooze out [of] each fig." A fig syrup, meanwhile, calls for simmering figs, water, and sugar on the stove.

Granted, cooking your figs does require patience. The Table's fig cocktail, for instance, takes three weeks to make; after cooking the figs, Arboleda pours bourbon over them and lets the mixture sit in the restaurant's wine cellar. Three weeks later, he strains the fruit to make a cocktail-ready jam.

If you don't have that much time on your hands, you can alternatively buy a fig jam, like that used in Tasting Table's fig jam and bourbon cocktail. For an even easier experience, you can head to a restaurant like The Table, where the fruit is already in jam form.

Read the original article on Tasting Table