When Lonny asked Diana Yen to dream up a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre pairing for the holidays, her first contribution was a lipstick-red Campari-Lillet concoction that skews elegant without being overly girly. Layered with herb and citrus notes, the gin-based drink is finished with a squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice. To complement the rich colors and bright flavors, she served the aromatic drink alongside oysters garnished with deep-ruby pomegranate salsa—elevating cocktail hour to decadent new heights.
CAMPARI, LILLET, AND GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL
Makes 1 drink
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1 wedge pink grapefruit
Twist of grapefruit peel, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add gin, Campari, Lillet and squeeze of grapefruit juice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.
OYSTERS WITH POMEGRANATE SALSA
Special equipment: oyster knife
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 fresh oysters, scrubbed and cleaned
Crushed ice (optional)
Seaweed for garnish (optional)
In a small bowl, mix onion, herbs, jalapeño, lemon juice, and olive oil. Gently toss in pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to let flavors combine. To shuck the oysters, begin by readying a small towel to hold them steady and to protect your hands. Place an oyster on a flat surface with the hinge side towards you. Keeping your hand secure on the oyster, insert the oyster knife through the hinge. When you feel the knife slide between the shells, twist until the hinge pops open. Loosen any muscle attached to the meat with the knife and detach the oyster from the top shell. Remove any shell bits. Place the oyster in its half shell along with its natural juices over a bed of crushed ice and seaweed. Repeat with the remaining oysters. Serve immediately with the pomegranate salsa.