Mixology Monday LVI: The Blue Beetle #2

56? Really?
This little Blog Carnival of Cocktails might just catch on.
This installment of Mixology Monday is hosted by Turntable Boy, aka DJ Hawaiian Shirt of Spirited Remix. Chris (yes, he’s got a lot of names) has a nifty original idea for a theme this month: Your Best. He asks all cocktail bloggers and sundry to post (or repost) our favorite original cocktail.

So what original concoction am I most proud of? For many of the prolifically creative out there, this question may be hard to answer, but not me. First, I don’t create that many drinks at all, and second, I don’t pretend to be that good at it.
That said, I have made a few that I’m proud of, but one stands out head and shoulders above the rest. I came up with it more than two years ago and since then the only cocktail I have made more of than it is… well, you know.

This month, I (re)offer: The Blue Beetle #2.
The name was stolen from Jacob Grier, whose Blue Beetle is also nice but not at all like my #2. (I was on a Corpse Reviver kick when this drink was created, thus the naming convention.) Here’s the main recipe:

BLUE BEETLE #2

  • 3 parts dry gin (Whitley Neill is best)
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part blueberry simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes of Fee’s Grapefruit Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass as garnish with a strip of lemon peel as long as shoelace.

Once you’ve got the blueberry syrup done (see below) this drink is dead easy to make, it has a striking blue-purple color, and most importantly, a fresh flavor and aroma that appeals to all sorts of drinkers. It is particularly effective as a gateway drug for gin. The Blue Beetle #2 damps down the pungency of gin, while still allowing its underlying complexities to make themselves evident. A gin drinker will identify this as a gin drink right off. But a gin skeptic will likely just say, “Wow! That’s good!”
I recommended Whitley Neill since there is something in its African botanicals that marry really well in this drink. But any good dry gin will do well. I do recommend that you stay away from really heavy juniper formulations, and don’t think the recipe’s magical gin-softening powers will let you get away with the cheap stuff either!

The only tough thing about the BB#2 is the blueberry simple syrup. It’s actually easy to make, but a bear to clean up after. I use the recipe Alton Brown gives in his blueberry soda episode of…

You sure do use a lot of my stuff here on this blog, don’t you Doug?

Well, yeah. There’s lots to use.

Of course.
You know, with some good humor, a little culinary know-how, and the right blueberries, a fun little syrup like this can be…

What, you’re going to leave me hanging here?

Oh no. I praise you. I link your recipe. Promo your show, Good Eats, yourself.

Ha!
Gotcha!

Damn.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:

BLUEBERRY COCKTAIL SYRUP

  • 24 oz. wild blueberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1.5 oz. fresh lime juice.
  • 1 oz. vodka

Put blueberries and water in a deep sauce pot. Bring to a boil and back off the heat to a good simmer for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool until it won’t burn your fingers, then strain through several layers of cheesecloth resting in a colander over a stainless steel bowl. Lift the cheesecloth and squeeze it gently to work out as much liquid as you can. Discard the pulp and cheesecloth blob. Pour liquid back into original pot, add sugar and lime juice. Heat over medium high while stirring until mixture boils. (Don’t stir while it boils!) Boil for two minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool completely, and add vodka to help keep it stable. Refrigerate and enjoy with gin and lemon juice!

I’ll leave you with a last note about the blueberries. They don’t have to be fresh, but they do need to be flavorful. Dole sells American wild blueberries frozen in 12 oz. bags that are much better for this syrup than all the big, beautiful, flavorless Chilean blueberries that you find in the store most of the year. Put those on your Frosted Flakes.

So that’s it. The Blue Beetle #2 is my best. I hope you give it a try. Now swing back to Spirited Remix and give some others’ a whirl as well!
Cheers!

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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