Monday, July 15, 2013

berries & booze

Blueberry season has begun.  It amazes me how large these wild berries are; I expect this size from cultivated fruit, but in the woods of PA it delights me to find so many large, ripe berries on tall shrubs.  It's a far cry from the tiny, low bush berries I picked in the White Mountains as a child.

Most people might think pie or jam when facing quarts of fruit, but my thoughts frequently wander toward the alcoholic.  Last weekend's adult beverage: blueberry wine sangria.  Traditionally, sangria consists of wine, fruit, your sweetener of choice, and a schlug of brandy.  Some people also add a carbonated beverage.  Because sweetness and level of alcohol are matters of personal taste, feel free to tweak my recipe and make it your own. 

Blueberry Sangria 
1 bottle blueberry wine
1/2 cup limoncello
1/2 cup blueberry syrup
1/2 cup mixed fruit (I tossed a few raspberries and red currants in with the blueberries.)
2 cups orangina

Blueberries combine so nicely with citrus...this punch goes down very easily.

If you're looking for a stronger cocktail, try soaking your fruit in something distilled to create your own liqueur.  The first liqueurs were often the work of monks who claimed to appreciate the medicinal properties of the brew.  These recipes were fiercely guarded and some (like Chartreuse, made by Carthusian monks since 1737) remain trade secrets today.

Fortunately, most modern day home brewers are more generous with their recipes.  As with sangrias, everyone has their own preferred level of sweetness and alcoholic strength.  I subscribe to Gunther Anderson's modus operandi:  "Guess.  Make the liqueur.  Guess again.  Repeat until it tastes good." 

To start, I imagine which booze might combine best with the fruit at hand.  For blueberries, I'm thinking rum and maple syrup, or maybe vodka, lemon zest, and white sugar.   You know what I'll be doing next weekend...


At July 16, 2013 at 1:16 AM , Blogger Cayce Hill said...

That looks so refreshing. And the color is gorgeous! This week I am trying out a recipe for anzushu, which is apricots soaked in sochu (Korea's answer to sake.) It's from the Japanese Farm Food cookbook, which I think you have. I bet it would work with blueberries... Cheers to the fruity booze!

At July 16, 2013 at 5:19 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

That looks really good! I've got guests coming for dinner tonight, and if I get blueberries in my CSA share maybe I'll head in a sangria-ish direction...

At July 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

What a great idea! Definitely will try this with the mixed-berry wine, which I've felt all along was "too berry-ish"...


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