Mulberry Me, Please…

Lavender Mulberry Muddle

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.

Each summer I look forward to harvesting red mulberries from our two Persian mulberry trees (yes, trees — they actually don’t grow on bushes.) Native to Asia, these large reddish-black berries are only available for a short period during the summer months and are similar in appearance to blackberries. The flavor? A succulent mix between sweet & tart. Great right off the tree, these berries are also fabulous in salads or… try reducing them down and drizzled on pound cake or ice cream or even used as a sauce for your favorite protein. Being that it’s summer, I’ve decided to make a deliciously refreshing cocktail using the fresh-picked mulberries. (Oh and by the way, if you have a tree or are working with mulberries — be careful as they stain!)

Mulberry Tree 2013

Lavender-Mulberry Muddle

  • 20 medium sized Mulberries (or 10 large ones)*
  • 1 tablespoon Lavender Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 5 mint leaves
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Fresh lemon juice, 1/2 lemon
  • Soda water, fill

Mulberry Muddle Cocktail

Combine mulberries, mint, small drizzle of honey and simple syrup in cocktail shaker. Muddle until mulberries are juiced. Add ice, vodka and lemon juice. Shake and strain pulp using a sieve. Pour over ice in glass and garnish with extra mulberries and lavender sprig. Cheers to summer! ~Crystal

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lavender buds (fresh or dried)

Lavender Syrup

Lavender Mulberry Muddle

Bring sugar, water and lavender to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 – 30 mins. Strain lavender buds and transfer syrup to a container with lid. Refrigerate for up to a month. BTW – This recipe makes more then needed for one cocktail. Since you can store it for a while in the ‘fridge, experiment this syrup in other cocktails, over Greek yogurt, ice cream or as a sweetener substitute. Share with us how you used your lavender syrup on twitter @ApronsStilettos or in the comments below.


*I used mulberries since we have two beautiful trees in the backyard. Your specialty markets may carry them so ask around. Raspberries can certainly be substituted. Just remember that they will be slightly more tart than mulberries. Experiment and share with us your spin on this cocktail!


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Perfect Pomegranate Libations

It’s pomegranate season and with a tree in the backyard producing several of these exotic fruits, we decided to experiment a bit. Sure, the deep red seeds are a wonderful accessory to salads and soups but today we’re bringing them to the cocktail world. Deseeding and juicing a pomegranate sounds intimidating, but we have some easy tips below to get you started.

Happy Thirsty Thursday.


Pomegranate Manhattan

1 ½ ounces Rye Whiskey or Bourbon (you can use brandy if other options aren’t available)
1 ½ ounce fresh pomegranate juice 
1 tsp. superfine sugar
2 – 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a shaker with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously until sugar has dissolved and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds or maraschino cherry.

Pomegranate Margarita

1 ½ ounces silver tequila
1 ½ ounce fresh pomegranate juice 
½ ounce triple sec
2 ounces fresh lime juice
½ – 1 ounce simple syrup or agave nectar
Course salt for rimming (optional)

Preparation:
Rim glass with course salt. (optional) Place all ingredients in a shaker with a handful of ice. Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with fresh pomegranate. Tip: to make salt stick to the rim of your cocktail glass,  wipe rim with lime wedge.

Aprons & Stilettos

1 ½ ounces vodka
1 ½ ounces  fresh pomegranate juice 
Juice from ½ blood orange, about 1 oz  (navel orange is fine, but if used I would decrease the amount of triple sec)
½ ounce Triple Sec
¼  ounce elderflower liqueur 
Sugar Rim

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a shaker with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar.  Tip: to make sugar stick to the rim of your cocktail glass,  wipe rim with orange wedge.


Pomegranate Tips: 

What’s the best way to deseed and juice a pomegranate? First, fill a large bowl with water, cut the pomegranate into quarters, submerge the fruit and begin removing the seeds underwater. The membrane will float and the seeds will sink. Remove the membrane and drain water with a colander.

Next, you have two options for juicing. The first method, and the method I prefer, is to quickly pulse the seeds in a blender and strain using a sieve in order to remove the seeds / pulp. The second method, which my sister shared with me, is to cut the pomegranate in half and juice on a juicer as you would with a lemon. Be careful and make sure you have your APRONS on as the seeds have a tendency to pop and stain.