A Blueberry Smash in the Moonlight & Cocktail Gardening Gone Wild . . .
Have you heard? Cocktail gardening is all the rage these days. Of course, mixing drinks from fresh-picked ingredients has been popular with gardeners for as long as booze and backyards have been around, but it always seems to take mainstream media awhile to catch up, now doesn’t it? Strictly speaking, I’ve never planted a cocktail garden, but I’ll make a drink out of pretty much anything in my potager, or the surrounding forest for that matter. And why not? Just about anything edible —wild or cultivated— can go into a cocktail recipe: cucumber for a Porch Swing/Pimm’s Cup, mint for Mojitos and Juleps, berries, rhubarb, melon and stone fruit for Smashes, Daiquiris and Mimosas, chile peppers and citrus for Margaritas, celery and tomatoes for Bloody Marys, edible flowers for pretty much anything, and the list goes on and on. If it’s growing in your kitchen garden, it’s fair game. But if you’re foraging, just be 100% certain that you know what you’ve gathered in that basket!
Â To Extend the Harvest and Provide Good Pollination, I Grow Three Blueberry Varieties in My Garden: BlueRay, Northland and Jersey. Read More About Blueberry Cultivation Here.
In high summer —when ripe berries and fresh herbs are plentiful— I love to take in sunset or moonrise on the terrace with an ice cold Cuban Mint Julep, fresh Strawberry-Mint Mojito, Raspberry Daiquiri or Blueberry Smash. At the moment, blueberries are particularly plentiful in my garden —despite the efforts of four local black bear— and when it’s too hot to bake a pie or muffins, I’ll take my blueberries with a bit of mint from the herb garden, fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice, vodka or white rum, a hint of St. Germain, crushed ice and a splash of seltzer, thank you very much!
Looking for a little inspiration to help liven up the home bar? Author, gardener and cocktail-lover, Amy Stewart’s The Drunken BotanistÂ is a fine, educational read —as well as cocktail gardening and recipe resource— for the horticultural enthusiast who enjoys the occasional homegrown and hand-crafted drink (or two). Curious about the botanical origins of gin and vodka? Want to learn more about the relationships between the various grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers? Wondering about how to play them against or with one another in a cocktail shaker? Well then, pull up a bar stool. Get ready to kick back a glass or two, and chase it with several chapters of cocktail gardening inspiration. And I have just the drink to whet your whistle . . .
The Blueberry Smash
Ingredients for one cocktail*
1 1/2 oz of Vodka (or White Rum)
1/2 oz St. Germain or Cointreau (and/or 1/2 oz simple syrup)
1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries
Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime (or a mix of the two)
Slices of Lemon or Lime for garnish
1/8 cup Fresh Mint Leaves, loosely packed, plus a sprig for garnish
Chilled Seltzer Water (optional, for a long version)
Reserve a few mint leaves and berries for garnish and place the remaining amount in a cocktail shaker cup and smash with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon until the blueberries are pulpy and the mint leaves are crushed. Fill the cup near to the top with ice.Â Add citrus juice (and if you like it sweet, optional simple syrup) and spirits and place the cover on your cup. Shake, shake, shake until well mixed. Set aside. Place a couple of the reserved mint leaves at the bottom of a highball or goblet and crush them with a muddler. Fill the glass with ice. Strain the mixture into the glass and, if you prefer a longer, less-potent tasting drink, top off with chilled seltzer. Add a few fresh blueberries, a sprig of mint and/or lemon/lime slices, then serve. This recipe may be adapted and modified in a variety of ways for various berry/herb/citrus combinations**.
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