Monday, July 4, 2011

3 Cheers for the Red, White and Blue - berry Vodka

One of the really wonderful things about stocking up on seasonal local produce is there are always wonderful ingredients at the ready.  Local sweet corn creamed with sage for Thanksgiving. Of course. Raspberries in the dead of winter? No problem. Blueberries before the local season starts. Done.

This need to hoard vacuum sealed fruit was particularly handy when brainstorming ideas for a creative cocktails class I taught. My desire was to inspire, so rather than offer a bunch of recipes involving ounces and jiggers I had lots of fun ingredients with which to create a signature cocktail. I wanted to offer an infused vodka and use a fruit that had yet to have its moment in the sun this summer. Just before the local blueberry season kicked in, the end of last year's stash was put to use. I spun them in the food processor and dumped the mash in a big pickle jar with a bottle of vodka for several weeks. A good shake once or twice a day was all there was left to do.

Once the vodka turned purple and smelled gloriously of fresh blueberries on a steamy July day, I strained the vodka through a fine mesh strainer.

A second straining through butter muslin removed a bit more sediment.

The second slow straining drip directly into a clamp top beverages bottle saved just for projects like this.

Is it weird to call liquor pretty? So now what? you may ask. We added it to a good quality lemonade concentrate with basil simple syrup then topped it with sparkling water. Stir then float a few leaves of lightly crushed basil. Find a cool spot on the porch. Put your feet up. Sip.

God Bless America...and blueberries.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!

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