The Joys of Cherry Season

130630  Cherry Vodka (1)

Cherries are my all time favorite fruit, hands down.  When they to come in each year I eat them every day.  Every. Day.  I can’t get enough.  I’ve canned them in the past and they are wonderful in the winter.  I’ve made them into pies, crumbles, cobblers and clafouties.  This years experiment is infused vodka.  Of all the vodkas I’ve infused in the past this one is the most labor intensive.  It requires you to pit and halve 4 to 5 pounds of cherries (and if you’re like me you eat a lot of them while you’re pitting).  It takes awhile, but the fruit is beautiful.

I put the halved cherries into the container and added 2 liters of vodka.  It’s sitting now in it’s dark little spot where I stir it daily.  The plan is to have it ready for July 4th.  Photos and a review will follow.  I have to confess to having  a bit of a taste this afternoon as I stirred the fruit around.  This is going to be one fabulous vodka.

130630  Cherry Vodka (2)

Strawberry Simple Syrup and the Finished Ruby Rocket

130608 Strawberry Simple SyrupThe local strawberries are out so I picked some up to make the next vital ingredient in the Ruby Rocket – Strawberry Simple Syrup.  Since simple is the operative word here I will just give you a brief description of what goes into it.  I used 2 quarts of strawberries hulled and halved.  They were put into a saucepan with 4 cups of water and brought to a boil, then simmered for 10 minutes.  The strawberries will have lost most of their color and look light pink. I used a small colander to drain the liquid into another saucepan.  Do not squeeze the berries in the strainer or your syrup will be cloudy.  Return the liquid to the stove and add 2 cups of sugar.  Heat until the sugar is dissolved, skim off the foam.  I then put the syrup into a couple of canning bottles and screwed on the caps. Once it had cooled down I put it into the refrigerator.  The sugar content allows this to keep for quite a long time.

130609 Ruby Rocket (2)I pulled all of the ingredients together for the now famous drink.  The vodka had been infusing for 8 days.  In a martini shaker filled with ice I added the vodka, the simple syrup and a healthy squeeze of lime.  Shake, shake, shake, pour.   This can be made in proportions that combine the flavors in any way you want – tart or sweet.  You may need to make a few before you get exactly the taste you want.  Mine was maybe a little bit sweeter than I wanted but it tasted like the freshest strawberry rhubarb combo.

130609 Ruby Rocket (1)There you have it, the perfect Ruby Rocket.  Too much work?  Check out the Blue Rock Cafe if you are in Shelburne Falls, MA – they may have it.  If not they will certainly have some other fabulous infused vodka martini.




The Ruby Rocket

Ruby RocketI was at The Blue Rock restaurant last night.  I went on a mission really because even though it is one of my favorite restaurants I had heard a rumor that the Ruby Rocket cocktail was to die for.  Strawberry Rhubarb pie filling in a glass.  I’m in, all in.

This cocktail was soooooo good I had to know how to make it and our waiter was also the cocktail master. Best happy accident EVER!  Although truth be told I would have hunted down the brains behind this cocktail before I left the restaurant (maybe because I’d had two who knows).

This cocktail is made with a rhubarb infused vodka, strawberry simple syrup and lime.  Today I’m on a mission to make the infused vodka.  When the strawberries are ready the simple syrup will be made and Fourth of July week will be nothing but these delightful martinis all around.

This is slow food at its best in my opinion.  I will update as the process goes along.