That's where the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley comes in. I first encountered the company a few years ago at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans where they had a tasting room set up for mixologists to play with their over 30 different flavor combinations of frozen purees from the staple banana and strawberry to exotic fruits including passion fruit, lychee and tamarind. Now don't get the impression that these were your standard frozen cocktail mixes that you'd find in the freezer case of the Super Walmart in Destin.
No, the Perfect Puree sells premium fruit and vegetable purees that have become an essential ingredient for chefs, pastry chefs and beverage professionals in their drink recipes and often desserts. They produce a line of base flavors like Mango, Peach, Strawberry and Passion Fruit, but also premium blends like Chipotle Sour, Mojito, Passion Colada, Red Sangria and Yuzu Luxe Sour. You can see how those flavors might get your culinary creativity bubbling. Their new line of products designed specifically for premium cocktails is called the Beverage Artistry collection and features Chipotle Sour, Thai Basil & Black Pepper and Thyme & Citrus. Don't those sound right up Arnold Myint's alley?
Perfect Puree products are available from some local food suppliers or more easily from the company website. The stuff ain't cheap, but then again neither are the raw ingredients they make it out of. Packages ship frozen to be defrosted in the refrigerator and used within a week. Again, I know that sounds a lot like a Bacardi mixer, but the depth of flavors and quality of ingredients raise Perfect Puree into a whole other category.
I experimented with the Thyme and Citrus to create some really great cocktails over the Fourth. If you're seeking inspiration, there is a whole raft of recipes at the Prefect Puree's website. Here's the cocktail I whipped up and would certainly make again:
Thyme for Bourbon
Source: Manny Hinojosa, mixologist
Serving size: 1 drink
• 2 oz. Bourbon
• 2 oz. Beverage Artistry Thyme & Citrus, thawed
• 1/2 oz. simple syrup
• ginger ale
• lemon wedge (garnish)
Method: In a mixing glass add Bourbon, Thyme & Citrus and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a high ball glass, top with ginger ale. Garnish with lemon wedge. Serve.
If you're looking for inspiration in either your mixology or your gastronomy, look no further than the Perfect Puree of Napa. Though, admittedly, Napa is a pretty fer piece to look ...