I love blueberries. They are not sweet enough but that can be remedied. And, as a side benefit, they can be made to look oh so beautiful. And, as a side side benefit, you can make double use of the flavors.
There is one issue with blueberries that can cause pause. It’s how they look. See that pie above, and those sparkling blueberries? Well, they don’t come out of the box like that. The raw blueberry can have a flat dry look that is a bit unappealing. You want them to twinkle. And you may want them sweeter, too.
How to do that? Soak them in a sugar syrup! For a pint of berries, put one cup of sugar and one half cup of water in a saucepan. On low heat, stir to dissolve the sugar, then raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup cool slightly. You want it very warm, but not uncomfortable to your finger.
Now, add the berries, and stir them to ensure they are all covered. Let sit for an hour. Then remove the berries with a slotted spoon, allowing the syrup to drain back into the saucepan. You want to save that syrup!
Put the berries on a piece of parchment paper or foil, and allow the syrup to set up. Depending on humidity and temperature, that can take a bit of time. Alternatively, you can put the berries into the freezer, than remove them when ready to use. That’s how those berries sitting on mint leaves were treated in the other picture.
And they syrup? Well, you now have berry flavored syrup. Find your blender. Add one banana, a pint of blackberries, a healthy dose of your blueberry syrup, and a handful of ice. Blend until smooth. Drink, enjoy and consider how to use your new sparkling blueberries.
Apricots. It’s been a wet and cold spring, but the first apricots have arrived. Small, yet intense in flavor, they provide the mixologist true opportunity. Instead of a peaches and Bellinis, here’s a way to use those early apricots and create a wonderful cocktail.
Unlike most of my creations, this is NOT too sweet. And, I used grapefruit bitters as well, so there is a definite “sour” undertone to this drink. It’s a great Sunday brunch beverage that will complement smoked salmon and capers.
Yield: 4-6 drinks
- 6 apricots [enough for 1 ½ cups when sliced]
- ¼ cup sugar syrup
- Grapefruit bitters
Peel and slice the apricot. Put them in a blender along with sugar syrup. Process until very smooth. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
In champagne flute, put 2-3 tablespoons of the apricot puree in the bottom. Add ¼ teaspoon of grapefruit bitters. Slowly top off the flute with Proseco. Enjoy and refill as needed.
Source: Brian O’Rourke