Sweet Tomato Basil Cooler

Sweet Tomato Basil Cooler

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 day 45 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 1 drink
A homemade tomato basil shrub does all the heavy lifting in this refreshing drink. This fruit-forward vinegar can be mixed into mocktails or cocktails – we opted to omit the alcohol in this cooler that you can enjoy all day long. So summery, it has savory, garden-fresh vibes from vine-ripe tomatoes. Sweet and aromatic notes come from the basil sugar, which is simmered into the shrub as well as used to rim the glass. It’s so good, you might find yourself adding any leftover basil sugar to other recipes, such as sugar cookies or a peanut sauce to toss with cold noodles.


Tomato Basil Shrub:

Basil Sugar:


Special equipment:
a paper straw
  1. Prepare the garnish by cutting a small X in the top and bottom of the cherry tomato. Skewer a paper straw through the two X’s and set aside.
  2. Fill a small bowl with 1/4 inch water. Mix the basil sugar with the salt on a small plate.
  3. Dip the rim of an 8- to 10-ounce rocks glass in the water then in the basil sugar mixture. Add two or three 1-inch ice cubes to the rimmed glass, carefully pour in the tomato basil shrub then top with the sparkling water. Stir with the prepared straw, adjust the tomato so it sits about 1/2 inch above the rim and serve.
  4. Combine the tomatoes, basil sugar and salt in a small saucepan and stir together to start to dissolve the sugar and break down the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes, until the tomatoes are saucy and the skins are loosened, 25 to 30 minutes. (No need to add water; there will be plenty of liquid from the tomatoes.)
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium heatproof bowl, pressing as much juice as possible through the sieve; discard the solids. Transfer the shrub to a glass jar and refrigerate for 24 hours before enjoying so the flavors can meld together. The shrub can be refrigerated for up for 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups.
  6. Combine the sugar and basil in a mini food processor and pulse until the basil is finely chopped and blended into the sugar. You might need to stop and stir occasionally to help disperse the basil. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.