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Strawberry Balsamic Margarita + Black Pepper Shortcake

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Margarita + Black Pepper Strawberry Shortcake

Our cocktail dream team of Andrea Harper of Gray Harper Event Maker, Jade of Jade + Matthew Take Pictures and Samantha Huba is back today, sharing what may just be the perfect cocktail and dessert pairing! Strawberries. Oh, how I love freshly picked strawberries. And today these ladies are taking strawberries to an all-new level with a crazy delicious strawberry basil balsamic margarita and strawberry shortcake made with black pepper biscuits and a balsamic strawberry sauce infused with lavender. Um, yes, please! I love flavor combinations that are a bit unexpected, here adding a touch of pepper to something that is otherwise sweet. And, I’m just saying, but with Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, you’re probably going to want to make this.

Picking Strawberries

Picking Strawberries Picking Strawberries

I think the key here is to use the best strawberries you can get your hands on. U-pick season is coming up in a lot of places so I love the idea of swinging by your local strawberry farm to gather up your berries. With both of these recipes, the balsamic vinegar and black pepper really let the strawberries shine and the touch of basil and lavender just takes the whole combination over the top.

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Margarita

  • 4 – 6 fresh strawberries
  • 1 – 2 oz tequila
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 basil leaves and sprig for garnish
  • 4 cubes ice
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Lime wedge to garnish

Combine strawberries, tequila, ice, balsamic, and basil in a blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, mix together sea salt and ground black pepper in a small dish and use the mixture to coat the rim of your glass. Pour drink mixture into glass and garnish with lime wedge and basil sprig. Enjoy!


Strawberry Basil Balsamic Margarita Lavender-Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees . Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse twice to distribute the ingredients evenly. Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just begins to come together.

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured counter (you may need to work in some flour if the mixture is  too wet). Pat the dough into a 10 by 12 inch rectangle about 3/4″ thick. Use a 3″ round cutter to make biscuits, pressing together scraps of dough and repeating the process until you’ve used it all. Place the biscuits on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

Lavender-Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 pound {about 2 cups} chopped and hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (we used a lavender balsamic, but you can use any)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook all ingredients for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know it’s finished when the strawberries are soft and sauce coats the back of the spoon. Let cool –  it can be served hot, cold, or room temperature. Spoon the sauce over a warm biscuit, and top with homemade whipped cream. For an extra kick, add a touch of black pepper to the whipped cream and crack a bit over top. Enjoy!

Freshly Picked Strawberries

Be sure to check out all of our Sips + Sweets cocktail and dessert pairings and for more Cinco de Mayo ideas check out our classic margarita recipe, our pick for what to wear, these DIY fringed vases, a few favorite fiestas, this color palette, this yummy citrus cocktail, these DIY beaded earrings, and this Mexican chocolate pudding recipe!


[Cocktail recipe + styling by Gray Harper Event Maker | Strawberry shortcake recipe by Samantha Huba | Photos by Jade + Matthew Take Pictures.]

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Robert Austin Fitch Photography NYC

Friday 3rd of May 2013

That margarita recipe looks awesome...I must say, I'm little nervous about the pepper, but I'll give it a go! Rob


Thursday 2nd of May 2013

These are sweet photos, I love how you can pick your own fresh berries and use them!!! I can't wait till strawberries are ready here in BC Canada, cuz I don't buy them from the grocery stores because of the pesticides

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