I pride myself on being a good house guest. I enjoy taking care of people that take care of me. I believe in showing love through food and drink (which, as I am somewhat picky in preferring homemade, fresh, seasonal, and healthy, is partially self-serving). There is nothing I love more than visiting a friend and having a slow happy hour, complete with artisanal cocktails, followed by a relaxed, dinner preparation and well-paired (with wine) meal in the intimacy of a home. There really is nothing better, or more intimate (and as I said, self-serving, because no, I do not want your overpriced, poorly crafted cocktail and entree when I can make something tastier myself #sorrynotsorry) than a good home cooked meal with good friend and a relaxed atmosphere.
Enter blueberry season. I knew I wanted to prepare something refreshing and capitalize on the blueberry bounty, so took to the kitchen, and concocted what I have named a "Blueberry Jubilee."
Blueberry Jubilee, serves about 4 (I don't know your drinking dispositions)
- 1 pint blueberries (washed, duh), set aside a small handful for garnish if desired (you can also use frozen blueberries in place of ice)
- 2/3 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used 4 lemons), save the rinds!
- 2 c water
- 1/3 c agave
- 1.5 c plain vodka (or more/less depending upon how much you want these drinks to knock you over), you can use the cheaper stuff, but make sure it comes in a glass bottle, no one needs to relive plastic-handled college.
- Club soda/seltzer water (I used lemon seltzer water)
- a few springs fresh herb (for presentation): sage, mint, rosemary would all pair very well with this drink.
- Combine blueberries, lemon juice, and water in a pot. Bring to a boil.
- Pour vodka into a glass jar, add lemon rinds, put on lid, shake, and set aside.
- Once blueberry/lemon/water mixture boils, turn to simmer, add agave, and stir.
- Let pot simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (don't let it overflow, blueberry stains are lethal).
- After 10 minutes the water in the pot should be purple/blue and all of the blueberries should have burst.
- Being very careful (and hopefully not wearing any white) pour hot mixture through mesh strainer (I had a food mill and used that, but it was quite messy). Smush any blueberries that haven't popped with a wooden spoon into the strainer (you're basically trying to utilize all of the blueberry lemonade/simple syrup). Whatever is left in the strainer/food mill after you have squeezed all of the juice through, dump into vodka jar (you are infusing the vodka with lemon and blueberry).
- Let the hot mixture cool & the vodka infuse overnight (it doesn't have to be overnight if you are in a rush, but the vodka will be more infused the longer you let it sit).
- Before preparing drink, strain vodka (no one likes a rind or chunk of pulp in their cocktail)
- Put ice/frozen blueberries in a glass, add 1 part (strained) vodka, 1 part blueberry lemonade simple syrup, stir, top with 1 part club soda/seltzer (I like a lot of seltzer so I use a heavy hand). You could also combine the vodka and blueberry lemonade simple syrup with ice in a martini shaker to avoid ice dilution (in that case, top with carbonation after shaking).
- Garnish with lemon slices, blueberries, fresh herbs, whatever you think will look good and taste yummy!
- You could also mix with ice in a blender to make it a frozen cocktail, for those dog days when you need a little pick-me up to tolerate the humidity, and serve in a sugar-rimmed glass.
- I used homegrown dried sage because I forgot to pick fresh sage, and purely for aesthetic purposes, but fresh herbs would have been preferable.
- Some people like stronger/weaker drinks, modify as needed.
- If you want a good blueberry lemonade, add 1.5 additional cups water when making simple syrup.
- If you don't have agave, use honey (if you're not vegan), or another sweetener (I cannot vouch for taste, you will have to taste as you make).
- I personally don't like my cocktails too sweet, if you do, add more sweetener.