It’s February! Which means I can drink again! I’ll be honest, I kind of missed coming up with new cocktails and writing about them. But now that my January Whole30 is over, I am delighted to be back in the Drinks game. And for my first cocktail of the new year, what better place to start than a Blueberry Elderflower Sparkler?! This champagne cocktail has it all: glitz, glamor, and a home-made mixer!
Aye, there’s the shrub
Hyuck-hyuck. So, remember last fall when I was like, “LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SHRUBS!”?? Well, that shrubby chicken has come home to roost. If you’re like me, you probably are unlikely to just make an ingredient with no clear idea on how you’ll use it. That’s normal and good. We can work with that. Here’s a great chance for you to finally give into your curiosity about shrubs and make one!
The shrub in question for this lovely cocktail is the blueberry ginger shrub as outlined by Food in Jars. It’s a great first-time shrub or shrub for beginnings. The process is simple, straightforward, and will appeal to the minimalist in you: put blueberries in a jar, cover them with sugar, muddle, top with vinegar, grate in some ginger, then wait. Strain it out a few days later and get ready to make this a Blueberry Elderflower Sparkler!
Fun fact: when I made this I used frozen blueberries and it turned out absolutely fantastic. I used the little teeny wild blueberries in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s, but I bet regular frozen berries would work just as well. All that being said, of course, fresh is best! But knowing that lots of us keep frozen berries in our freezers for smoothies and whatnot, just wanted to pass along encouragement that you won’t be ruining a thing if you go frozen here. In fact, I think shrubs are an excellent way to use up frozen blueberries or other fruit that is edging on freezer burn!
Ingredients for Success
Once you have this delightful shrub ready to go, you’ll be surprised by its versatility. This baby can really liven up a regular gin & tonic if you’re having a particularly extra day, and it’s equally great mixed into some lemonade or tea for a non-alcoholic mocktail treat. In fact, I used this in a good half-dozen or so different concoctions before settling on this as my favorite.
And why is it my favorite, you might ask? For starters, the tartness of the blueberries (let alone the vinegar kick of the shrub) is a treat but needs something to bring it down a bit. This is why the floral, syrupy nature of elderflower liqueur makes it a dream partner for the shrub. Layer in some nice brut cava and this gal really sings. (You could definitely sub out prosecco, for the record, but the citric acidity of the cava adds a nice top note to the drink.)
I can rarely resist dropping in a dash or two of some bitters into my cocktails, but this one is a simple, clean, three-ingredient wonder. Once you have a batch of the shrub ready, I recommend you indulge in a few single-serving containers of bubbles. You never know when the craving for a blueberry elderflower sparkler might hit you. It’s a damn fine way to #treatyoself any afternoon or evening.
- 1 oz elderflower liqueur
- 1 oz blueberry ginger shrub
- 3 oz brut cava
- In a mixing glass, stir together the elderflower liqueur and blueberry ginger shrub until well incorporated.
- Pour liqueur and shrub mixture into the bottom of a champagne or coupe glass.
- Top with cava & toast to your wonderful mixologist skills.