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.

Violet Beauregard

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
Ice Cubes
6 Blueberries

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.


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Fantastic colour. Very seductive!

Haven't got quite enough blueberries to do that with, but might try with my last few remaining blackberries of the season.

Barbara said...

Isn't that gorgeous? I bet it tasted ambrosial too. We infuse cranberries in vodka ahead of Christmas for some holiday cheer.

Anonymous said...

Oh so lovely mom. And thank you for all the books you've read to us. Don't forget "where the red fern grows" and our giant tears that followed. Or "the wind in the willows". There are so many books to be read to a child and so little time.

Jennifer Jo said...

For some odd reason I thought your children were out of highschool, and I had no idea you homeschooled! So, what grades are they in? I'm all curious now!

grace said...

how terrific to associate a cocktail and a children's movie. :) seriously though, i love the name and i love the reference. one thing i don't love? vodka. i concur with your comparison--who wants to drink lighter fluid?
meanwhile, to sarah--i don't think i ever cried as much as i did when i read "where the red fern grows"...except maybe with "stone fox."

Karen Baking Soda said...

No blueberries here but I bet that it will be wonderful with raspberries no?

Abby said...

I NEED to try this. I love vodka cocktails - but it DID take me awhile to get past the lighter-fluid stage!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

A Forkful of Spaghetti - Blackberries? That sounds wonderful!

Barbara - Cranberries? Perfect for the holidays.

Sarah - so true; so many books, so little time.

Mama JJ - I have a 7 year old we're calling 1st grade and an almost 13 year old in 8th. Drop me an email and we can talk homeschool.

Grace - oh yes, the tears fell hard on that one.

Baking Soda - the little mason jar of raspberry vodka sitting on my counter smells amazing. Try it!

Abby - so there is a beyond the lighter-fluid stage?

Madam Chow said...

I love blueberries. I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And the name Violet Beauregard is one of the greatest names in all of literature, in my humble opinion. And this drink looks fabulously refreshing!

Sean said...

Admit it, mom, you stole the idea from me. Though the color of your concoction looks much less likely to appear on a Saturday morning cartoon than mine that of mine.

Elle said...

That sure is a pretty color! Had to giggle when you got to the end of the first taste...I'm not a big vodka fan either :) Partial to single malt Scotch and Irish whiskey though.

Peabody said...

You wild woman you, throwing back the vodka and what not!

natalia said...

Beautiful !

Homemade Heaven said...

I can imagine that every teacher (home school mom or school teacher) could use one of those after a day of teaching. I think I would need one before the school day with my son!

Anh said...

Purple is my favourite color so I enjoy this post thoroughly!

Jennywenny said...

How lovely, I agree with you on the vodka/lighter fluid though! I much prefer gin! Sloe gin is something my grandpa used to make every year.

LyB said...

No sigh of relief as school starts over here. I think this is probably the toughest time of year for me as I try to look excited so the kids will be happy to go to school (which they are) and meet new friends. It's so hard for me to see them leave and let them go. Oh well, bring on the vodka! ;)

Ketutar said...

There IS a huge difference between the vodkas. Not premium doesn't taste drinkable, a premium vodka should have a warm, round, slightly sweet taste. Smooth ;-) In my mind Finlandia vodka is the best vodka in the world, but I'm Finnish, so I suppose I'm partial. (and I suppose, it makes me know what vodka can taste like :-D)