Complicated Cocktail

A friend on twitter posted a link to a recipe for a roasted blueberry basil margarita – obviously I had to click through! Who wouldn’t? Here is the list of ingredients::

2 ounces Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounces Tequila
2 ounces lime juice
2 1/2 ounces blueberry basil simple syrup
sliced lime + fresh blueberries and basil leaves for garnish
salt + sugar for the rim

Since I’d had a very looooong week at work, I decided to stop at the grocery store for the few items I didn’t have on hand (all of them, except sugar – and that I keep around for kitchen chemistry and making smoke bombs, not actually cooking. I also had Grand Marnier, but I got more. Because hey. Grand Marnier.)

Obviously I had to start with the making of the simple (SIMPLE?) syrup – which meant roasting blueberries and other things.

“preheat oven 400 degrees F. Place 1 cup of blueberries on a nonstick baking sheet with a pinch of salt. Place in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until berries start to burst.”

My experience? This was more like ten minutes and you REALLY want a non-stick baking sheet. Not an old one that’s sort of non-stick any more. Really non-stick. That said, once I removed the burst blueberries (which now smelled like blueberry cobbler) from the pan into a bowl and put the pan into the sink with dishsoap and water, I got back on track.

“While blueberries are roasting, combine equal parts sugar and water (such as 1/2 cup of each) in a small saucepan and add 6-8 fresh basil leaves, bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve, then turn off heat and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.”

My experience? I am not used to measuring sugar because everything I cook is on the savory side.  It spilled, which sucked. Plus my cat was being whiny and that didn’t help. However, I did manage to get everything in the pan and onto the heat without further mishap and then got the sugar cleaned up (during this, the blueberries were roasting, because that is what the instructions said!):

the start of “simple” syrup…

I used 3/4 cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar and 8 basil leaves. It boiled quickly and I took it off the heat. I can’t say that in 20 minutes it was completely cool – but I do know I was done waiting and I moved on – especially since I had the roasted blueberries waiting!

“Combine 1/2 cup simple syrup + roasted blueberries in a blender/food processor and blend until combined.”

I used a stick blender and I didn’t add all the berries at once, but it’s berry purple. I did remove the basil leaves first. The recipe didn’t specify that, but the idea of tiny chopped up basil in the drink did not appeal. I was fine with chopped up blueberry, so did not strain. For the record, the cat-bowl is mine, and not the cat’s. She was whiny for other reasons. Like, she’s a cat.

simple syrup and roasted blueberries, blended.

“Rim the ridge of your glass with a lime wedge and dip in a mix of margarita salt + sugar.”

I skipped this. I have never liked rimmed edges on any drink – margarita, bloody mary, anything. So I just don’t.

“Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grand marnier, simple syrup and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 30 seconds. Pour over ice and squeeze in lime slices, then drop in blueberries and more fresh basil leaves.”

All of this was straightforward and I enjoy an excuse to use the cocktail shaker. In the end, I had enough for many drinks – progressively diluted by the ice, but still flavorful. I also had more simple syrup and blueberries, so I put the rest into the cup and blended away – meaning I have that already prepared now and obviously I cannot let it go to waste! My drink did not look like the recipe site – and not just because I didn’t rim the glass and I used a proper margarita glass. I suspect that my syrup is more dilute and that they had ice that was more crushed for the cocktail shaker. Theirs almost looked like it had cream in it; mine was very dark berry colored.

It’s a lovely drink. If I liked you well enough, I would make it for you. I am not certain I like anyone well enough to do it all again. The syrup is a mess to make and my kitchen was a wreck (it’s better now). I’m happy to have the blueberry simple syrup in the fridge for now and will use it up soon no doubt – but will I make more? Doubtful. There are other (simpler and faster) cocktails I enjoy just as much.

Nonetheless, this was not a bad way to finish a long week:

it’s the weekend, and I shall celebrate!


4 thoughts on “Complicated Cocktail

  1. Made some adjustments: lined the baking sheet with foil, left the basil in, strained the blended mixture. Though it was nice, it was still messy and I don’t know that it was tasty enough to be worth the trouble. You might get a more flavorful result using high-grade packaged juice. I’m still going to drink it, though. 🙂

  2. I think perhaps frozen berries heated in the simple syrup would work to get the concentrated flavor and be easier. Did foil work? I was thinking wax paper would have been a good idea. And next time I probably would leave the basil in as that was a very minor note that would have helped the complexity.

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