Monday, August 31, 2009
Violet, You're Turning Violet
Next week we start back to school. For most people that means sending the kids off to school and breathing a sigh of relief as the calm descends over the household. Not for me. I homeschool my kids. That means that while other moms eagerly anticipate the start of school, I dread it. I'm not organized enough to do a good job. Will my children end up holding cardboard signs on freeway off-ramps because I didn't do a good enough job? Will they still be living at home when they're 35 because they can't get a job that doesn't involve a paper hat? These are the fears of a homeschooling mother.
One of the choices that I've made in schooling my children is to read to them. A lot. I have a huge list of books that I consider indispensable for a happy childhood. Whatever other mistakes I make with my children, at least they will have happy memories of The Little House in The Big Woods, Taran Wanderer, My Father's Dragon, Half Magic, The Snowy Day, and, of course, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
What child hasn't dreamed of visiting Willy Wonka's fabulous factory, sipping from the melted chocolate river, and coming away with a truckload of chocolates? But when you grow up, and you've had a stressful day, what do you dream of? Probably still chocolate, but perhaps also a little something for happy hour.
I fell in love with this cocktail when I saw it in Elizabeth Faulkner's Demolition Desserts. The name alone is fantastic, but I loved the beautiful violet color, too. I ran out and bought a bottle of vodka (she says use a best quality vodka. I have no clue what a quality vodka is, since they all taste like lighter fluid to me), removed a cup of vodka, and filled it with blue berries. (The remaining cup I put into a mason jar and filled that with raspberries. Perhaps I'll post something fabulous with raspberry vodka sometime.) Within days it started to turn a lovely reddish-purple.
The cocktail turned out beautifully. I carefully measured out the blueberry vodka, holding a spoon over the bottle's opening to keep the blueberries from spilling out, and mixed in the other ingredients, shook it with the ice, poured into a chilled glass, and reverently sipped. Mmmm, lusciously fruity. I tasted the orange, lemon, and blueberry and then....lighter fluid. Rats. It's still vodka. I guess I'm never going to be a vodka fan. I gave the rest of my glass to my husband who doesn't mind vodka at all. He gave it a definite thumbs up.
For the infused vodka:
1 bottle (750 ml) premium vodka
1 cup (about 5 oz) blueberries
To infuse the vodka, pour out 1 cup of the vodka into another container and save for another use, like making raspberry vodka or vanilla extract. Wash the blueberries and dry them on a clean kitchen towel. Drop the berries one at a time into the vodka bottle, cap the bottle, and set it in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks or up to 1 year. Leave the blueberries in the bottle and the vodka will just get better.
For the cocktails:
3/4 cup (6 oz) blueberry-infused vodka
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (3 oz) Cointreau
1 Tbsp (1/2 oz) fresh lemon juice
1- Chill two cocktail glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
2- In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake.
3- Strain into the chilled glasses. Drop 2 or 3 blueberries into the bottom of each glass and serve immediately.