Although it’s been an unusually cool summer here in Atlanta, I am particularly homesick for New England this week.
I was browsing through a friend’s (okay, fine, an acquaintance!) photos on Facebook and stumbled upon an album from her recent trip to Maine. As I hungrily clicked through photo after gorgeous photo of lighthouses, craggy coastline, sunsets, lobster, hiking, ancient wood-shingled cottages, and bushes full of blueberries, I was hit with an almost physical jolt of pain in my gut–a visceral longing for our family vacations in Bar Harbor, Boothbay, and Acadia National Park.
We haven’t been to Maine as a family since Maggy and I were in high school. And although Mom and Dad started letting us drink a little then (with them! under supervision!), we weren’t exactly shaking up cocktails after our daily hikes, bike rides, and trips to the market.
I think a trip back to Maine is in order! (Can I get an amen, Mom and Maggy?) And, of course, if we went there now this brightly colored beverage is exactly the kind of thing the Anderson-Keet-Damelio clan would enjoy.
With my summer vacation long over, I guess I’ll just have to be content to mix up one of these, call my family, creep on people’s Facebook pictures, and start planning my next trip to New England.
I should warn you: these guys go down real easy. Taste like heaven, but they pack a punch.
Blueberry, Lemon, and Basil Cocktails
The blueberry-infused vodka is optional (plain vodka works fine!), but if you want to kick it up a notch, infusing the booze doesn’t take long. If you have any leftover blueberry syrup, it’s great in yogurt and on pancakes!
Makes 6 drinks.
For the Blueberry-Infused Vodka
1/2 cup blueberries
2 ¼ cups vodka
3-inch strip of lemon peel
For the Blueberry Syrup
1 pint blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
Peel from ½ a lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice
30 basil leaves
4.5 ounces lemon juice
Fresh blueberries and lemon slices (for garnish)
Make the blueberry-infused vodka:
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the blueberries and crush them the back of a spoon. Add the vodka and lemon peel, and heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat, transfer to a glass or metal container, and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
Make the blueberry syrup:
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it forms a thick syrup. Transfer to a glass or metal container, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the cocktails:
Combine 4 basil leaves with 1 ½ ounces of blueberry syrup, and muddle together using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Add 3 ounces of the blueberry vodka, ¾ ounce of lemon juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into rocks glasses with a few fresh ice cubes. Garnish with one basil leaf and a few blueberries. Repeat for 5 remaining cocktails.