Friday, April 27, 2012

Blueberry and Basil go hand in hand
in 'delicious and refreshing' margaritas

Although it’s raining and miserable outside as I write this, the kind of day where soup is a welcome guest at the table, I’m still in the mood to tell you about a cocktail for a warm spring or summer day – it’s that fantastic.
   Blueberry and Basil Margaritas (click for the recipe) from Saveur magazine are amazing. Delicious and refreshing, those two cliché words often used to describe a good drink, are definitely applicable here.
   It would be a lovely opening cocktail for a backyard shindig.
   It’s the first time I’ve come across such a prominent combination of blueberries and basil in a recipe. Actually, reviewing quickly in my head, I actually can’t recall a time I’ve had the two together in any manner for a dish or drink.
   But they go hand in beautiful hand, believe me.
   The recipe says it makes one cocktail (one generously large cocktail).
   If you want to make more than one, you’re certainly going to want to do part of the recipe in advance, even though that’s not obviously indicated in the recipe.
   The first sentence of the directions says to boil fresh lime and lemon juices and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves (I used Splenda instead), then leave it to cool.
   If you’re going to make more than one cocktail, that step is going to become very laborious very quickly.
   I tripled the amount of juices and sugar in this initial preparation, but it seems to me it could be easily quadrupled and beyond.
   I refrigerated this simple syrup for several hours so it got nice and cold, then brought it out when I was ready to make the margaritas. I measured the syrup to see how much I had, then divided it by three. Each cocktail I made received a third of the syrup.
   For one cocktail, the syrup is poured into a cocktail shaker, along with blueberries and basil leaves. The blueberries and basil are crushed with a spoon; I made sure all the berries had burst before I moved on to the next step.
   The recipe then calls for adding reposado tequila, but I used the tequila we had in stock, the most common kind sold at the liquor store.
   Tequila, Grand Marnier, agave syrup and ice are added to the shaker, and the mixture is shaken. It’s then strained into a highball glass filled with ice. Make sure to shake the shaker to get out all the amazing cocktail mixture.
   I didn’t bother with the blueberry and basil garnish – I served these suckers as is and we enjoyed them immensely.

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