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Author Notes: Sweet blueberries hit their prime as summer nears its end, and what better way to savor their tart flavor then in a cordial you can enjoy all through the fall? Making infused liquors is quite easy, and a great way to use up over-ripe fruit and scraps. Just soak berries, or any leftover fruit, in a quick simple syrup, then mix into vodka and let sit for a few weeks. And packed full of citrus and fresh mint, the smash has quickly become a favorite cocktail of mine. Chicago’s French-inspired Maude’s Liquor Bar creates this tipple with a variety of liquors, including the delightful smokey violet combination, but using a house-made blueberry vodka is just as sweet. —La Vita Cucinare
Makes 1.75 liters
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces blueberries
- 1 lemon, zest removed using peeler or paring knife
- 1.75 liters vodka or high-proof clear liquor
- 1. Place the water and sugar in a small, heavy-duty pot and bring to boil. Add the blueberries and lemon zest and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a large jar and allow to cool completely.
- 2. Pour the vodka over the blueberry syrup once it has cooled. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for three weeks. Strain through cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer and store in a sealable container, in the freezer.
- 2 pieces orange zest
- 2 pieces lemon zest
- 3 mint leaves
- 1.5 ounces blueberry liquor
- 1.5 ounces soda water
- Blueberries for garnish
- 1. Muddle the mint and zest in a cocktail shaker. Add the vodka and shake vigorously over ice.
- 2. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Top off with soda water and garnish with mint and blueberries.