As I mentioned before, sometimes it’s a challenge to finish all the produce in our Green Bean Delivery bin before the next weekly delivery. I had so much fun making and eating these veggie pickles a couple of weeks ago, that I was inspired to use some leftover fruit to infuse alcohol for cocktails. So I tossed some sliced strawberries in one jar, some blueberries in another, and headed to the liquor cabinet for inspiration. As I looked in the cabinet, the vanilla vodka called to me from a dark corner. And for the strawberries, I chose gin…because I love it. To speed up the infusing, I lightly muddled the fruit in each jar with a wooden spoon. As I muddled the blueberries, the smell reminded me of blueberry pie…yum!
I’m no stranger to infusing alcohol. The photo above is a picture of the top shelf from my pantry. You may spy some cubed ginger steeping in vodka in the shorter jar and some dark, mint-steeped vodka to which I had just added sugar for making a liqueur (recipe coming in a future post) on the far right. Don’t worry, that mint liqueur went straight into the refrigerator after this shot was snapped. Can I share one my secrets? When I needed ginger for the pickles mentioned above, I just used some from this jar. It’s the best ginger storage method I know, and BONUS, there’s flavored vodka too.
Fast forward a few days, and I was more than ready to mix up some cocktails. Ask my husband, I rarely make the same recipe or the same cocktail twice. There are just too many options available. So what was I feeling this weekend? Summer drinks. Call me crazy, but I thought that a hard lemonade or a tall, iced highball would help mentally ward off the last bit of winter that we are experiencing in the Midwest. So with a little more poking around, I came up with some Meyer lemons from this week’s produce bin and some fresh thyme and rosemary that were beginning to look a little limp. A quick internet search to find inspiration in this herb-infused simple syrup recipe from Umami Mart and this Meyer lemonade recipe from White on Rice Couple, and I was ready to begin.
Rosemary Lemonade with Blueberry-Vanilla Vodka
Blueberry-Vanilla Vodka (above)
1 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c. Rosemary Simple Syrup
4 c. water
Rosemary Simple Syrup:
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
3 4-inch-long rosemary sprigs
First, prepare the Rosemary Simple Syrup. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and reduce heat, stirring slowly until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove sugar mixture from heat and add rosemary sprigs. Allow rosemary to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a glass jar and allow to cool completely.
Next make the Meyer Lemonade, by combining the lemon juice, Rosemary Simple Syrup, and water in a 8-cup or larger size pitcher.
To make the cocktail, place ice in a tumbler. Over the ice, add one part blueberry-infused vanilla vodka and two parts Meyer Lemonade. Stir. Garnish with lemon peel, rosemary sprigs, and a few blueberries from the infused vodka if desired.
Strawberry Thyme Collins
2 ounces Strawberry Gin (above)
1 ounce Meyer lemon juice
1 ounce Thyme Simple Syrup
3 ounces tonic water
Thyme Simple Syrup:
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
3 or 4 3-inch-long thyme sprigs
First, prepare the Thyme Simple Syrup. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and reduce heat, stirring slowly until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove sugar mixture from heat and add thyme sprigs. Allow thyme to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a glass jar and allow to cool completely.
In a cocktail shaker, combine strawberry gin, lemon juice, and Thyme Simple Syrup with ice. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass over more ice. Top with the tonic water and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice and strawberry if desired.