Cocktail Class: Melisandre

Welcome back to Mixology 101

Cocktail: Melisandre with Strawberries


Again, our cocktail chemist Dustin Crawford has formulated a refreshment that is just the right fit for the month at hand:

Winter is gone as May brings spring blossoms, bright colors and the promise of summer. With that promise comes the ecstatic moment of biting into fresh strawberries. This bubbly drink takes some preparation and a somewhat obscure liqueur, but the end result is worth it!

FIRST, THE TOOLS. You will need a cocktail shaker, a measuring jigger, a hawthorne strainer, a fine mesh strainer, a food scale, a resealable jar (mason jars work great) and a collins glass.

The preparation calls for strawberry syrup, which is simple to make. Wash some fresh strawberries and weigh them, slice them up and toss them into the sealable jar. Add an equal weight of granulated sugar to the jar and shake it up to fully cover the strawberries. After a few hours (or even a day), the sugar will have pulled the juice out of the strawberries and mostly dissolved. Dump the mixture into a pan and bring to a simmer. This will dissolve the rest of the sugar and create a tasty and undiluted strawberry syrup. Strain the solution through a fine mesh strainer back into the jar and the prep work is done.

Now, the INGREDIENTS. To the shaker add::

  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes rhubarb bitters
  • .75oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz strawberry syrup
  • .5 oz maraschino liqueur
  • .5 oz Crème de Noyaux*
  • 1 oz. vodka

Finally, the PROCESS: Fill the shaker with ice and shake hard for 15 seconds. This emulsifies and incorporates all the ingredients while chilling and diluting the mixture; a lethargic shake makes for a sad drink. Place your hawthorne strainer on your shaker cup and strain into your collins glass. Fill your glass with ice and top with soda water before garnishing with a fresh strawberry. Enjoy this year’s introduction to the warmer months!

• If you can’t find Crème de Noyaux, substitute 3 parts amaretto mixed with 1 part pomegranate juice.

BONUS: If you have too much strawberry juice, pour the extra over more diced strawberries on some angel food cake and top with whipped cream.



Dustin Crawford 

About our mixologist: Dustin Crawford is co-owner – with partner Kip Rodier – of the 33 Room in Peoria Heights. Prior to that, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran traveled the world before returning home to work his magic behind the bar at various central Illinois establishments, including 2 Chez.