The Primrose cocktail is like an adult strawberry lemonade with a Cognac.
This is such a great little summer cocktail that really does taste like a spiked strawberry lemonade.
It uses homemade strawberry syrup for the sweet component which has become one of my favorite ways to add nice bright fruit flavors to cocktails. Fruit syrups are easy to make and also provide some texture and body to your drinks.
The Primrose cocktail is a real crowd please in terms of flavor profile.
It is balanced but fruity, with some background interest added by the Campari, and nice body from the Cognac.
Cognac is a really undervalued spirit in terms of mixing cocktails. There are many flavor notes that remind you of a whiskey, but it is much lighter and more fruity than that.
By simple definition, it is a barrel aged grape brandy from the Cognac region of France. Depending on the liquor store you frequent, there may be lots of options or just one or two.
It is not widely popular and can be really expensive but do your best to find one that is a V.S.O.P. and is within your budget. I use the Mason Rouge V.S.O.P. for mixing in cocktails and it works really nicely.
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Homemade strawberry syrup for the Primrose cocktail
The method for making fruit syrups for cocktails is really simple. You add sugar to the fruit and let it sit for several hours, add water, heat it gently and strain it into a bottle.
There really isn’t anything to it other than patience. Letting the fruit sit, or macerate, with the sugar allows more of the water and flavor to be pulled out of the fruit before turning it into syrup.
This method works well for almost all fruits, you will sometimes need to just alter the amount of water you add because some fruits have lots of liquid in them already.
So for the strawberry syrup, add 150 grams of cane sugar to 150g of chopped strawberries and a pinch of salt, then let that sit for 3 hours stirring occasionally. Next add 75g of water before heating the whole mixture gently in a small saucepan.
Then strain the syrup into a small bottle with a splash of Everclear or high proof vodka to help preserve it.
Now put this fruity summer cocktail together
You need some tartness to balance out the sweet syrup, and strawberry and lemon are a killer combo.
Then the splash of Campari adds just a little bitterness and a bit more complexity in the background to make it taste a little more “cocktail party”, and a little less “8 year old birthday party”. But by all means if you are feeling like a small child or don’t have any Campari, just make it without.
You can also make the choice whether or not you want to use absinthe here.
I like the sense of dryness it adds, as well as the way the smell of anise contrasts the fruity strawberry. However, this ingredient is optional as well so if you don’t like anise flavors in your drinks just go without it.
Primrose Cocktail Recipe.
- 1 1/2 oz Cognac
- 1/2 oz Strawberry Syrup
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/4 oz Campari
- 5 drops Saline - (optional)
- Absinthe - (optional)
- Prepare a chilled cocktail glass by either rinsing the inside with absinthe or using an atomizer to evenly coat the inside (optional).
- Add all the other ingredients to your shaker tin.
- Add ice and shake for about 12 seconds.
- Double strain into your chilled cocktail glass.