From time to time, Bas Bleu’s editorial staff “samples” recipes from cookbooks and other culinary guides found in our catalog. Our efforts are amateur at best: If you’re looking for advanced epicurean know-how or glossy food photography, you’re about to be disappointed. We’re humble home cooks, you see, like (most of) you—pressed for time, with non-matching cookware and the tendency to scatter flour everywhere. But we know delicious when we taste it, and if you try your hand at these recipes we think you’ll agree!
Among the new offerings in Bas Bleu’s Summer 2013 issue is The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Greatest Drinks. Our reviewer praises it as “a deliciously entertaining blend of science, history, and mixology” and “a must-read for curious gardeners, home bartenders, and anyone who enjoys a good cocktail.” Here at the Bluestocking Salon, we count ourselves as all three…but especially as people who enjoy a good cocktail!
So we were honored when author Amy Stewart volunteered to create a special drink just for Bas Bleu. Known appropriately as The Bluestocking’s Crush, this blend of wine and fresh fruit has at its core Lillet Rosé, a French aperitif wine that Amy describes as “a blend of Bordeaux wine, citrus liqueur, and quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree, aged in French oak until it has the sort of aromatic, sophisticated flavor that transports you right back to Paris.” Because we wouldn’t dream of recommending something to you without testing it first, this blogger mixed up a sample (or two…or three!) in the test kitchen.
The Bluestocking’s Crush
2 oz. Lillet Rosé
3/4 oz. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz. honey syrup*
3 fresh blackberries
1 fresh strawberry, halved
Crush two blackberries and one strawberry with honey syrup and lemon juice in a small shaker. Pour into a rocks glass and swirl, making sure the bottom of the glass is lined with berry mixture. Add Lillet Rosé and top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with blackberry and enjoy!
* To make honey syrup, combine 2 parts honey to 1 part water and shake vigorously.
This was my first encounter with Lillet Rosé, which explains why I spent ten minutes wandering through the wine department of my local package store. Finally, one of the employees steered me toward the spirits section. Though the finished cocktail includes crushed ice, I chilled the bottle for several hours just to be on the safe side. Summer in the South is hot, y’all.
If this ingredients list doesn’t scream summer, then I don’t know what does. The fruit is almost too pretty to crush. Almost.
Because my home-bartending supplies are paltry, I substituted a Mason jar for a shaker and the handle of my microplane zester for a muddler. (Don’t tell Amy!) You probably could also use a mortar and pestle if you have one large enough. Ripe, room-temperature berries break down easily, and once they began to merge with the lemon juice and honey water, the scent was pure heaven! (For this single serving, I combined a half-ounce of my favorite tupelo honey with a quarter-ounce of water.)
On this particularly sticky June evening, the finished product was so mouth-watering that I drank it down before I remembered I was supposed to photograph it for you—so I had to whip up another one! The verdict: A bright, refreshing blend of sweet and tart that is grounded by the body of the wine, the Bluestocking’s Crush is a delicious addition to summer happy hours. Cheers!