Cocktail of the Month: Huckleberry Blood

by Talley

in Cocktail

We’re going to start featuring one cocktail every month. Here is the inaugural post:

I’ve made a few liquors recently and have been looking for interesting ways to use them. I used some of the huckleberries we got at the market a few weeks ago to make a liqueur not unlike crème de cassis, though it’s probably a bit less sweet and higher proof as I used Everclear as a base and diluted with a weak simple syrup. Incidentally, I should mention that most of the liqueurs I have made have been roughly based on the recipe for limoncello posted at the incredibly thorough LimoncelloQuest. I highly recommend that web site if you’re interested in making your own limoncello or other liqueurs.

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To mix my huckleberry liqueur, I began looking around online for cassis drinks as inspiration. I read that tequila has an affinity for crème de cassis, which intrigued me. The following is a riff on a David Wondrich cocktail called the Sangre de Agave from his book Killer Cocktails. I altered the ratios slightly to feature the huckleberry a bit more and to accommodate the proof of my liqueur. I also added a splash of Stirrings orange bitters which I think rounds the drink out, but that could be omitted as in the original version.

The drink definitely has that characteristic agave punch, but the rum softens it up noticeably. The huckleberry gave the drink a glowing red hue and a brighter flavor than the cassis did, but I enjoyed both versions.

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The Huckleberry Blood

1½ oz reposado tequila
½ oz dark rum
1 oz huckleberry liqueur (depending on sweetness) or ¾ oz crème de cassis
½ oz lime juice
1 tsp rich simple syrup
generous dash (about 1/8 tsp) Stirrings blood orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Huckleberry Liqueur

375ml pure grain alcohol, such as Everclear (mine was 151 proof)
1 cup huckleberries
1 to 1½ cup of white sugar
1½ cups of water

If possible, filter the Everclear 3 or 4 times in a Brita, or other charcoal filter. Place huckleberries and liquor in a large jar and let sit for 15 to 20 days. Mix the sugar and water in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture sit until completely cool and then mix with the alcohol and huckleberry infusion. Taste for proof and sweetness and adjust if necessary. Let that mixture sit for another 10 days. Then filter the mixture 3 or 4 times using #4 coffee filters. Bottle the liquid and put in freezer if desired.

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