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let this be the cooldown

Recipe: huckleberry daiquiri

The weather took a turn this weekend, bringing cooler temperatures, clouds, and even some rain. The smoke is still present and we find that the intensity of the smoky odor doesn’t always correlate with the opacity of the air. But I’ll take a cooldown any way I can get it right now. We get out when we can, although being confined indoors means we are getting more work done.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday last week. At first my Dad had grand plans of going out for dinner at one of Boulder’s many fine dining establishments, but more and more my parents prefer eating with us at home. I think we all enjoy dining out, but when you are a good cook you understand the value of what you are getting at a restaurant versus what you are getting at home. There are plenty of times when dining in wins. Dad executed a fabulous feast including the traditional noodles for long life. I contributed a Colorado Palisade peach (the best peaches!) pie because my mom loves peaches and she doesn’t bake.

birthday girl and lots of special dishes

chinese beef and beef tendon noodle soup in 3-day broth

I’ll be honest with you, this has been a shitty summer as mountain summers go. Our monsoonal rains fizzled before they even got started, the smoke from the fires has kept us from exploring much of the high country (I’m allergic to smoke and suffer from allergy-induced asthma), and it appears that the mushroom season to date has been a mere token at best. We are skipping straight ahead to roasting green chiles, picking apples from friends’ trees, and mentally engaging ourselves with what we hope is the arrival of autumn in the mountains. We spy many random aspen branches flaring their gold colors around the neighborhood and on the trails. Most are still green, but I feel ready for fall, and then… precious winter.

the understory of our local woods is turning

there aren’t many out there, but we find them

time to roast and restock the freezer

apple picking with this sweet little girl and her pup, kumba

Considering our poor snowpack and meager summer rains, Erin and I were astonished that this year’s huckleberry crop was 1) early by a month and 2) phenomenal. This was not the case everywhere, because my secret huckleberry patches outside of Crested Butte had so few berries that I left them all for the local wildlife to eat. Back on the Front Range, I have a huge stash cleaned, sorted, and frozen. There were so many berries that we hardly put a dent in them. I saved a few fresh ones to make some recipes, including a huckleberry daiquiri cocktail.

ice, huckleberries, limes, sugar, water, rum

I had never had an actual daiquiri before. My knowledge of daiquiris came from the daiquiri ice sherbet at Baskin Robbins, which you could argue is no knowledge at all. But whenever I want to try a cocktail recipe, Jeremy always volunteers as tribute. To make it huckleberry, I merely steeped crushed berries in the simple syrup. And while I typically use organic cane sugar that has a brown tint to it, I opted for white granulated sugar to avoid any adulteration of the true huckleberry color. After you strain the berries out, don’t throw them away! These are great on pancakes, waffles, French toast, or ice cream. Huckleberries should never be wasted.

make a simple syrup with water and sugar

mash the huckleberries

add the berries and let steep for 30 minutes

strain the syrup

Once the syrup is cooled, you can store it sealed in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. The making of the cocktail is easy. Fill a shaker with ice. Add the lime juice, rum, and huckleberry simple syrup. Shake until the liquids are chilled. Strain into your glass. I did a double batch here because our coupes are 10-ounce glasses. You don’t have to use a shaker with ice, but I like that it slightly dilutes the alcohol (I have zero alcohol tolerance) and it breaks off little shards of ice during the shaking which comes out as a little raft of delicate ice bits floating on the surface of your drink.

lime juice, huckleberry simple syrup, white rum

pour everything into the ice-filled shaker

strain into the glass

We played around with different ratios and settled on a good balance. If you add too much simple syrup, the cocktail starts to taste like cough syrup. If you don’t have enough lime juice, it comes off flat. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. And as always, if you don’t have huckleberries, you can always use blueberries. It’s a vibrant and pleasing twist on a classic cocktail.

garnish with a lime twist and a sprig of huckleberry

i love the frothy raft of ice shards

Huckleberry Daiquiri
[print recipe]
based on this recipe at Imbibe

2 oz. white rum
1 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 to 1 oz. huckleberry simple syrup
lime twist

huckleberry simple syrup
4 oz. huckleberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Make the huckleberry simple syrup: Mash the huckleberries with the bottom of a glass to release some juices. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil for one minute. Turn off the heat and stir the huckleberries into the syrup. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the huckleberries from the syrup (compost, discard, or eat the huckleberries). Let cool.

Make the cocktail: Fill a cocktail shake with ice. Pour in the rum, lime juice, and huckleberry simple syrup. Shake vigorously to chill the cocktail, then strain into a glass. Garnish with a lime twist. Serves 1.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule huckleberry shrub and gin fizz cocktail huckleberry lemonade fig vodka infusion and fig blossom cocktail

7 nibbles at “let this be the cooldown”

  1. Cheryl says:

    What is a Peach Palisade Pie? TX!

  2. jenyu says:

    Cheryl – Colorado grows peaches on the Western Slope, and they’re commonly called Palisade peaches (the town of Palisade is just east of Grand Junction, CO).

  3. jill hyde says:

    Just beautiful and I love the lime twist and garnish. Happy belated Birthday to mama Yu. What a fantastic celebration! xo, jill

  4. MK says:

    I just want to let you know how much joy your posts bring me…and your other faithful readers, I’m sure! While I don’t seem to have the energy these days to make such lovely creations, I adore reading about them. And your extraordiary photography is also such a delight. Thank You, Jen for sharing your creative life with us!

  5. Pey-Lih says:

    That’s so true that most Asians do not bake much – stir fry, yes. It looks like you and your family had a really wonderful feast. I love picture of you with the dogs! It’s so nice to be in the picture with the furry kiddos instead of taking the snap shots. Also, the picture of the daiquiri looks so cool with the huckleberry sprig! Cheers to you and your mom!

  6. farmerpam says:

    What a lovely color, I bet it tastes amazing. I love the photo of you and the pups, and your Mom is such an ageless beauty, happy birthday to her!

  7. jenyu says:

    jill – Thank you! xoxo

    MK – Aw, you are the best. Thank you for that sweet comment xo

    Pey-Lih – Thank you! :)

    farmerpam – I love the color (until it gets on my clothes!) :) Thanks, hon!

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