The solstice is past, the days are hot and long. The bees have done their work on the raspberries and strawberries, which are quickly ripening. The herbs are fragrant and looking better after all the recent rain. The rhubarb is tall and begging to get into a pie… or a beverage. Time to sit back and enjoy the earliest fruits of the season. One way to enjoy them? Muddled and mixed with high spirits.
Jessie recently met the owners of Vikre Distillery. Based in Duluth, they are a forward-thinking craft distillery that uses 90% organic, locally-sourced grains. Their business model is focused on people and the planet in equal parts with profit. They shared some great cocktail recipes with us to help you fully enjoy your summer garden.
This one is bright, refreshing and aromatic. It tastes like strawberries and basil enjoying a lively dance to the music of Vikre’s Cedar Gin. In your mouth.
3 fresh strawberries
5 basil leaves
1.5 oz. Vikre Cedar Gin
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup*
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries and basil leaves. Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup and ice. Shake hard for about 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a basil leaf, if desired.
*To make simple syrup, heat equal parts water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps for several weeks in a tightly closed container in the fridge.
This one tastes like a couple that could stay together forever; fun, fruity and sensuous paired with earthy, strong and stoic. This two-step cocktail takes a bit more time, but it’s worth it. Make the syrup ahead of time, by a few hours at least, so it has time to chill.
1 cup blackberries
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Simmer all ingredients together for 20 minutes, breaking the blackberries apart as it cooks. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and store in the refrigerator. *Sam’s tip: The fruity mush from the strainer is a tasty addition to yogurt or ice cream.
The Bramble Cocktail:
1.5 oz. Vikre Honor Brand whiskey (or your favorite bourbon)
1.5 oz. bramble syrup
.5 oz. lemon juice
a mint sprig for garnish
Shake the whiskey, syrup, and lemon juice with ice for 20 seconds, then dump the drink with the ice into a double rocks glass. Clap the mint between your hands before placing it on the drink as a garnish.
Want to make virgin versions of these recipes? Try Seedlip non-alcoholic gin, or mix water or tea and non-alcoholic vanilla extract in a 4:1 ratio for a whiskey substitute.
See you at Tonkadale!