A Berry Delicious Cocktail
Use the power of fresh fruit and apple cider vinegar to make a refreshing mocktail or cocktail
Summer is finally here, and there is no better way to celebrate the warmth of the sun than with a cool, sparkling drink. Of course, seasonal fruit is the perfect ingredient to add to the mix. August brings fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to berry farms across the state. Harvesting day can be a beautiful thing, as many farms are on hilltop locations. Pick your own or pick up a basket from the local farmstand and make a vibrant berry shrub that’s tangy with a touch of sweetness. The vinegar-based shrub dates back to Colonial times, and the versatile beverage, which is tasty with or without alcohol, is seeing a resurgence in popularity in bars and restaurants.
1 pint blueberries (Frankly, this can work with raspberries, blackberries or elderberries too.)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
Several sprigs of thyme or tarragon or mint
Make the shrub
In a medium saucepan, add blueberries, sugar, vinegar and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir constantly while mashing the fruit for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
If you want a purée, carefully transfer the hot sauce to a blender. Blend the shrub to get it as smooth as possible, then pass it through a fine mesh strainer, directly back into the pan. Let the shrub rest, at least overnight, before using. It will keep for months, covered, in the refrigerator. (I used mine right after it cooled.)
If you don’t mind a few chunks of blueberry and their skins, pour the sauce without straining directly into a jar. The longer it sits in the jar, the better it will taste. Cool before using.
To make the cocktail, add 1 1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce lemon juice and 3/4 ounce shrub into a shaker with ice and shake. Top with 2 ounces of Prosecco and garnish with blueberries.
To make a mocktail, substitute club soda for the Prosecco and, of course, omit the gin.
To make a more authentic version of a shrub, find a recipe online that uses raw vinegar (Bragg) and sugar, plus seasonal fruit mashed together. Then let it sit for a week. No cooking in this one as the heat will destroy the micronutrients. The typical ratio is equal parts fruit, sugar and vinegar, but it can be made with less sugar, or without sugar with sweetener added to taste when making the final beverage of choice — from cocktail to health tonic to barbecue sauce. An excellent guide book is “Fire Cider! 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made With Apple Cider Vinegar” by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends. A few recipe providers in her book reside in New Hampshire. storey.com
Our Favorite NH Berry Farms
Get the freshest berries at these farms, and visit pickyourown.org for more options and to find what’s currently in season.
545 W Hill Rd., Troy
Hilltop setting offers great views, plus pick-your-own blueberries, red currants and gooseberries.
Berry Good Blueberry Farm
234 Parker Rd., Goffstown
Call the farm for picking times and dates.
Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm
648 Bradford Rd., Newport
Bartlett’s has lovely views of Mount Sunapee.
Blue Moon Berry Farm
195 Waldron Hill Rd., Warner
Another hilltop location
Blueberry Bay Farm
38 Depot Rd., Stratham
This 12-acre farm is chemical-free.
157 Charles Bancroft Hwy., Litchfield
They’re celebrating 40 years in business.
85 District 5 Rd., Concord
They offer strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins and Christmas trees.
265 Turnpike Rd., New Ipswich
Find local blueberries and beautiful scenery.