A long-standing symbol of abundance and fertility, figs are often gifted, shared, and enjoyed during the holidays. Botanically, the Ficus carica, commonly known as the fig, isn’t a fruit at all but rather a syconium: a fleshy stem with enclosed flowers that bloom internally. It contains only female flowers and propagates with the help of the minuscule fig wasp, whose only task is to pollinate one of the world’s 900 species of fig plant varieties.
Ancient Olympians were crowned with fig wreaths and earned figs for their athletic prowess, while the Roman author Pliny the Elder praised the fig’s health and restorative powers. In fact, figs and their leaves are packed with nutrients, including antioxidants and fiber, as well as B1, B2, potassium, iron, and calcium. The ancient plant also promotes healthy digestion, is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and may help manage blood sugar.
The sweet fig can be enjoyed raw or cooked and is often dried and preserved to savor all year round. With so much deep-rooted history, what better way to welcome the holidays than with a tipple celebrating the cherished fig? This low-proof twist on the classic Manhattan has equal parts rye and sherry and a delicious infusion of fig preserves.
1/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Amontillado sherry
3/4 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. fig preserves
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fresh fig slices
Add the vermouth, sherry, rye whiskey, preserves, and bitters to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a fig slice.