Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fresh Summer Produce Makes a Cocktail Swing: Part IV: Blueberries and The Blue Moon on Monday Cocktail

A seasonal miniseries showing you how to use farm-fresh ingredients in your cocktails.

The Blue Moon on Monday, bursting with the fresh flavors of summer blueberries and rosemary, is a perfect drink to pair with food at your summer cocktail party.

Blueberries, those North American natives that inspire summertime pies, muffins, and, for the culinarily adventurous, homemade ice cream, inspired us to make a cocktail. The Blue Moon on Monday. It abounds with fresh summertime flavors, and isn’t loaded with alcohol, so you can sip several over the course of an evening as it pairs well with many different kinds of food. Rosemary is the secret ingredient. Just get some fresh from the farmers market, or clip some from your garden, and you’re ready to start muddling it with some fresh blueberries in a little crème de cassis. Add some moonshine, Carpano Antica vermouth, and round that out with the fresh orange taste of Combier, and a dash of Regan’s orange bitters, and you’re ready to start shaking.

Blue Moon on Monday
(created by Cocktail Buzz for Piedmont Distillers)

 2 ounces Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Carolina Moonshine*
1/2 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth (an Italian sweet vermouth)
1/2 ounce Combier orange liqueur (a clean, orange liqueur)
1 teaspoon crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
sprig of rosemary
12–16 blueberries**
3 plump blueberries and a sprig of rosemary, as garnish

 In a shaker, muddle a sprig of rosemary in crème de cassis, then add the 12–16 blueberries, and gently muddle. Add Midnight Moon, Carpano Antica, Combier, and bitters; fill three-quarters with ice; and shake. Double-strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with 3 blueberries speared with a rosemary sprig (or you can drop the 3 blueberries and the sprig into the drink).

* You can substitute another clear moonshine, or vodka, if this is not available in your area.
** If you’re using Maine blueberries, which are smaller and sweeter, you may want to adjust the level of crème de cassis, or eliminate it altogether.

Another cocktail we love to have with brunch or dessert is the Farrah Fawcett. With its homey tropical flavors, the Farrah Fawcett is reminiscent of coconut–banana cream pie. You can even serve some up at your summer tiki luau with spare ribs dripping with your favorite tangy sauce.

Although the Farrah Fawcett only uses blueberries as a garnish, they are an important element to the overall beauty of the cocktail.

And don’t forget about peaches, especially white peaches and nectarines. They’re enjoying a banner summer. Already we’ve been assaulted by the intoxicating aroma of fully ripe specimens every time we walk by them in the kitchen. If you’re looking for some recipes that’ll showcase what makes peaches so special, you can try either the Smash Daddy, a sweet peachy lowball, or a Tokyo Momo that introduces dark cherry flavors into the mix.

And if none of these ideas float your boat, or you don’t have certain ingredients on hand and need to make something intoxicating with your blueberries and peaches tonight, then by all means experiment. You are the bar chef. Muddle your fruit, add a base liquor and perhaps a liqueur or two, and give it a little taste. Make adjustments to suit your taste buds. Enjoy.

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