Blueberry + Madeira Gin Fizz

If you can't tell, and I'm sure you can't, these pictures of me making this cute lil blueberry cocktail heavily feature my very short cutoff jean shorts because the month of July specifically requested them. I'm sure everyone is thanking you, July. I'll be wearing them all month with Tobias Fünke as my role model; damn, New Orleans July sun, you are ruthless.

In other news, I left my full-time management job earlier this week, and what began as a freedom celebration has slowly and grotesquely evolved into a series of hopeless choking sobs (again, a la Tobias) as I put two and two together and realize the full extent to which I will no longer be paid. Whatever, now I'm doing blog work at a wine shop and wondering if this is my last two dollars or just my next-to-last two dollars. It's something like an adventure, except that it's still 100% normal life. Like iced coffee, Wi-Fi, washing dishes level normal.

And look, you know what's even more fiscally and medically irresponsible than doing computer work at a wine bar? You guessed right, it's buying a couple pints of local organic blueberries from the farmer's market and then wasting gas driving to three different specialty spirits stores looking for Rainwater Madeira only to discover they're all closed for the holiday weekend and it turns out you have the exact one you need at home already anyway. This is what I let myself become when I don't have a schedule. It's only been three days, who wants to place bets on how long I can last?

This little weird gin fizz boosts up that juicy sweet and seasonal blueberry flavor, but the Madeira kind of balances it out with a nutty little touch, so it's certainly not too sweet. I've talked about Madeira on here before, but if you need a refresher, here's the skinny: it's a fortified wine (same family as sherry, port, vermouth) that comes from the Madeira islands of Portugal, and it kind of happened by accident when some regular wine got cooked in the heat of the sun in barrels being brought over to the Americas, making it a uniquely American beverage. The founding fathers actually toasted to the signing of the Declaration of Independence with, you guessed it, Madeira--which is so amazingly rebellious, actually, if you consider the fact that the British had banned the import of Madeira to the colonies in 1665. That's like if California signed a bill to leave the U.S. and all the lawmakers passed a blunt around to celebrate. I'm crying. So be a boss and celebrate your nation's birth with a bit of Madeira this year.

There are lots of different types of Madeira. You've got Sercial, Bual, Verdelho, and Malmsey, so a whole bunch, and they vary widely in how sweet they are and what their flavor profile is like. The style you're going to want for this recipe is called Rainwater. Verdelho could also work, but Rainwater tends to be the cheapest, making it the most reasonable to use in cocktails. Sercial is too dry, Bual and Malmsey too sweet, and they're all generally serious wines that you should enjoy on their own. Rainwater has a touch of sweetness to it, but most importantly, it's got some really great nutty elements to it that are 100% yum with the blueberry syrup in this cocktail. It's just sweet enough! And you're sweet. Love ya, recipe below!! 

Blueberry & Madeira Gin Fizzes

Makes two

  • 4 oz. London dry gin

  • 2 oz. blueberry syrup, recipe below

  • 1 oz. Rainwater Madeira

  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice

  • Soda water to top it off

  • Thyme sprig for garnish

Combine gin, blueberry syrup, Madeira, and lemon juice in a shaking tin. Add ice and shake until tin has frosted over. Pour into serving glass, then top with ice and soda water. Garnish with thyme sprig.

Blueberry Syrup

Makes 1 pint, or enough for about 16 cocktails

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

  • 1 pint sugar

  • 1 cup water

Combine sugar and blueberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat, constantly stirring. Cook until blueberries release liquid and sugar dissolves. Add water and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and reduce 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Strain out solid blueberries (and save them to put on top of your waffles) and store syrup, covered, up to two weeks.

Need more refreshing things? Yaaaaas:

Coconut Daiquiri

Coconut Daiquiri

Amaro Daiquiri

Amaro Daiquiri

Lavender Hard Sweet Tea

Lavender Hard Sweet Tea