Alongside fresh truffle (say non to truffle oil!), lemon zest a la minute and garlic and onion frying together in butter, fig leaf is one of those scents that lingers in your nose, brain and memory. Its sweet, grassy, floral aroma is so strong on a hot day it’ll turn your head to find the tree. Cocktail man-about-town, Ed Loveday describes it as “somewhere between fig, green tea, marzipan and coconut”. If you’ve tried Cherry Moon General Store’s fig leaf-wrapped sourdough and have had your entire house fill with a fog of its toasty, intoxicating scent, you’ll know what I mean. The fig’s fragrant leaves hit peak aroma at high summer and early autumn (ie. right now), when the fruit is ripe, and can be used to flavour ice cream, to wrap ricotta before baking it or instead of foil for fish on the barbeque. One of the best ways to capture this sunshine scent, however, is by infusing spirits for cocktails. 

In Adriana Picker and Ed Loveday’s beautiful 2017 book, The Cocktail Garden, a fig leaf tincture calls for five fresh fig leaves, washed, de-stemmed and chopped, then covered in a jar with a bottle of vodka or gin. No need to be too fiddly with the measurements. Leave the jar in a cool, dark place for two to three days until the spirit is deeply green in colour, and hella aromatic. Strain through muslin, discard the leaves and return the vodka to the bottle or jar. Add a couple of drops to your preferred Martini recipe, sort of as a finishing garnish, and voila, the garden hits your glass. The tincture will last for months too, “if not years”. Trans-seasonal fig drinking. I fdig it. 

Loveday has another trick up his sleeve. To double-down on figgy flavour while they’re in season (now! now!), make a fresh fig syrup. Here’s his Fig Negroni recipe, which offers “a deeper, richer honeyed note from the fig syrup and something more floral and lifted from the fig gin.” Cheers, Ed!

 

Fig Negroni

20mls fig leaf-infused gin (see notes above for a how-to)

15mls Punt e Mes

20mls Campari

20mls fig syrup (see below recipe)

15mls Supasawa *

Build and stir over ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh fig.

*You can find Supasawa online at a few places. It’s a blend of five different types of acid. Lemon juice would also work here if you can’t be bothered sourcing it.

 

Fig Syrup

Equal parts figs, roughly sliced

Equal parts caster sugar

Combine together in a zip lock bag. Gently press to combine and rest for 24 hours at room temp. Strain through chinois. Refrigerate.