The Wolfberry Commission

Hoo baby, have we got a winner!  The prep isn't for the faint of heart, but lordy, is it tasty if you like to drink dessert.

The fig gives this cocktail an incredible mouthfeel and depth, while the pistachio liqueur adds the cream, and the pistachio garnish adds a delicious saltiness.  The vanilla, ginger, and goji berry simple syrup rounds things out with fruit and spice, along with a slight floral note from the orange blossom water.

The Wolfberry Commission

2 oz fig-infused vodka (recipe below)
1 oz pistachio liqueur, adapted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits (recipe below), or I imagine you can use Dumante pistachio liqueur
.75 oz Ginger Vanilla Wolfberry Simple Syrup
.25 oz orange blossom water
dried goji berries (we'll rehydrate these)
pistachios to garnish

(Optional) To rehydrate the goji berries, place them in a small, microwave-safe glass bowl or cup and cover with hot tap water.  Seal the bowl/cup with plastic wrap and use a knife to poke a few holes.  Microwave for 2 mins, remove plastic wrap and strain.  If you like your garnishes crunchy, feel free to skip this step.

Combine ingredients (except for the garnishes) in a cocktail shaker with ice.  If your pistachio liqueur is milky like mine, shake the mixture until chilled; if clear like Dumante, use a bar spoon to stir the mixture until it dilutes a bit*.

Strain mixture into a tumbler over ice and garnish with goji berries and pistachios.

*Pro tip: Spirit-forward cocktails (typically clear) are stirred; cocktails with mixers – like juice, cream, egg white, etc. – (typically opaque or translucent) are shaken. You stir things like martinis and manhattans, but you shake things like margaritas. I've read several reasons for why you should do it this way – some say it's about aeration and texture/mouthfeel, others say it depends on how much dilution you want from the ice, or even how ingredients bind when you shake them vs. stir them, etc. They're all fine reasons, but the upshot is that Bond's shaken-not-stirred martini actually isn't correct. In the case of this particular cocktail, the homemade pistachio liqueur is pretty milky unless you filter the heck out of it, so my suggestion is to shake it. If you use Dumante or filter the homemade stuff so it's clear, I'd say stir it.

Honey Pistachio Liqueur

Somehow, my attempt at this turned out very milky – it's probably because I let it infuse longer, had a higher pistachio-to-liquor ratio, and didn't bother filtering much.  The resulting milky texture is what makes the cocktail creamy.

500 ml 80-100 proof vodka
375 ml dry vermouth
Finely grated zest of lemon
1 lb. roasted, salted pistachios, removed from shells and chopped
1 c honey

Combine ingredients in a glass container and set on a shelf in your basement or somewhere without much sun or heat.  Shake daily for 2-3 weeks, then strain using a fine-mesh strainer.

Fig-Infused Vodka (OMG, it's so good)

375 ml 80-100 proof vodka
2 pints fresh figs, chopped
5 dried figs, chopped
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Combine ingredients in a sealable half-gallon jar or other container that will hold everything.  Set it on a shelf in your basement or somewhere without much sun or heat.  Shake daily for 2-3 weeks, then strain using a fine-mesh strainer.

For both infusions, if you want to strain further, feel free to give the liquid another pass by lining your sieve with cheesecloth or even untreated paper towels.  I personally like the fig vodka a bit gooey with a small smattering of fig seeds, and the pistachio liqueur milky, but to each her own.