Something amazing happens when you put ripe strawberries in tequila. After a few weeks, the berries become grey ghosts of their former selves, relinquishing all their color and flavor to the tequila. Then you have preserved, in liquid form, the flavor of perfectly ripe fresh local berries—the kind you can only get at the beginning of summer.
It's happening right now: the berries are in. I look forward to this moment all year, and look back on it wistfully whenever I buy a box of the big perfect-looking ones from the grocery store that only gesture towards the taste of a real strawberry.
The problem with real strawberries though, is that as soon as you've picked a bucket or purchased a pint from the farmers market, they start to degrade. By the time you get home, half of them are mushed and bruised, so you have to eat those ones right away—probably with some thick sour yogurt, or a bowl of vanilla ice cream. You save the rest for breakfast the next day, and beyond that, any leftover berries are just going to shrivel or mold. Then you blink and the season is over.
Jam is lovely, but it is not a fresh berry. Tequila por mi amante is the solution. You should make a batch now, and in a few weeks when mine and yours are ready, we'll start making cocktails with it.
You don't need a recipe, but if you must have one, try this or this, or even this. A quart of berries and a regular size (750mL) bottle of tequila or mezcal is about the right proportion. I used a high proof mezcal joven, but a blanco or joven tequila would be just as nice. It does't need to be fancy, but shouldn't be bottom shelf either.
Rinse the berries, hull them, and quarter or halve them, dropping them into a big jar. Pour enough liquor over to cover them (all of it, if you had a quart of berries). Save your empty tequila bottle. Now seal the jar and put it somewhere cool and dark (or at least not hot and sunny) for about three weeks. (If you find yourself with a few extra berries, or the dregs of a bottle, you could just keep adding to it.)
By then, your tequila por mi amante will be ready. The fruit has given all its magic to the tequila, so you may as well strain it out and funnel the scarlet liquor into the bottle you saved. Make margaritas, palmomas and whatever divine drinks you can dream up. Or ask Chris Amirault, who first poured me a taste, what he's making with it.
You might also like: