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Several weeks ago, I showed you how to make Blueberry Infused Gin. Today’s recipe, the Blueberry Hill, features this infused gin mixed with Dimmi, blueberry puree, lemon juice, simple syrup, orange bitters and an egg white. A perfect balance of sweet and tart, the Blueberry Hill has a deliciously complex flavor (provided by the Dimmi) and a crisp, light-as-air texture (via the egg white). If you are unfamiliar with Dimmi (an Italian aperitif), I would highly recommend introducing yourself. Dimmi is a sweet, fragrant liqueur infused with vanilla, rhubarb, liquorice, ginseng, bitter orange, Nebbiolo grappa and peach and apricot flower blossoms. Seriously legit.
In addition to this wonderful recipe, I will also be sharing an interview with Josh Sullivan of Post Prohibition (aka, the dude who came up with this yumzo cocktail). Continue reading for the recipe and interview.
How did you get into the art of mixology?
I took a trip to New Orleans and had my first Sazerac. I was hooked after my first sip. When I returned from New Orleans, I bought almost every cocktail book ever made and tried to learn as much as possible.
What goes into creating a new cocktail? What inspires you?
Seasonal ingredients are a big part of creating a new cocktail. I like to purchase seasonal ingredients from my local farmers market. I also grow my own herbs and edible flowers. These practices greatly impact the flavors and quality of my cocktails. I also like creating cocktails based on new techniques or methods.
Traveling and visiting top bartenders can be a huge source of inspiration and information. Online communications with bartenders and foodies (such as yourself) worldwide also motivates me. I have found much inspiration from food and amazing chefs as well. Recently, I was inspired by a barista. She is so passionate about coffee. It’s great to just hear her talk about her love of the craft. She can go on and on about retronasal, orthonasal and how we perceive taste. She also introduced me to a Mexican stone ground chocolate called Taza, which I’m using to infuse with rye whiskey. There are so many sources of inspiration. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored.
What are some of your favorite cocktails to make?
I love making gin cocktails for a customer who tells me they don’t like gin. I say, “Well let me make a proper cocktail. Try it and tell me again that you don’t like gin.” Cocktails are a great way to introduce people to bold spirits such as gin, tequila, and mezcal. For myself, I like to make a cocktail after a long day. Preferably something strong and boozy (i.e. Vieux Carre, Old Fashioned, Bronx, Clockwork).
What is your favorite tool or gadget behind the bar?
Japanese bar tools are the best. Once you go Japanese you’ll never go back. I’m serious. You can buy them at Cocktail Kingdom.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Barrel aging, custom bitters and small batch distilleries are big trends right now. They are changing the market and the way we look at cocktails. I just got my own barrel. I’m still trying to choose what to age.
What’s the most scandalous thing that’s happened to you on the job?
Ok… Well I have long left the days of bartending at a college bar so I haven’t encountered anything scandalous recently. However, when I first started bartending, there was this terrible shot called (of course) the “Panty Dropper”. A lady at the bar had a couple of these shots, then leaned over and said to me, “I think one more “Panty Dropper” and it might just work!”
As far as pickup lines go, I love the drunk girl around closing time who asks, “So when are you getting off work?” I say, “Depends… how do you feel about mopping?”
What’s the best line somebody has used to get a free drink from you?
If you’re a regular, you’ll usually get a free drink from me. I like to reward customers that like to learn. Occasionally, someone will ask what an amaro is or what Lillet Blanc is. I like to pull the bottle up on the bar and let them sip test each component that makes up the cocktail they are drinking. I have found that customers appreciate this and I also enjoy sharing my knowledge.
This interview was slightly edited.
- 1 1/2 oz. blueberry infused gin
- 3/4 oz. Dimmi
- 1/4 oz. lemon juice
- 1/4 oz. simple syrup (recipe below)
- 1 oz. blueberry puree (recipe below)
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 egg white*
Add gin, Dimmi, lemon juice, simple syrup, blueberry puree, orange bitters and egg white to a cocktail shaker (no ice!). Cap the shaker and shake 4 or 5 times (this process of dry shaking emulsifies the alcohol and egg white). Add ice, then shake again until your drink is nice and chilled. Strain into a martini glass.
I decided not to garnish this drink because I found the pale purple foam on top to be very visually appealing. If you would like to add a garnish, you could try raw blueberries (skewered with a toothpick) or a twist of lemon zest.
To make simple syrup:
Warm equal parts white sugar and water over medium heat (I usually do 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water), stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil, bubble for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Let cool before using.
To make blueberry puree:
Give 1 cup of blueberries a good rinse (precise measurements are not needed here). Do not dry. Add blueberries to a small pot and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until blueberries have released a decent amount of juices. Remove from heat and transfer to a small food processor. Add a dab of water and process until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine mesh basket strainer into a clean bowl (you can use a spatula here to help press the liquids through strainer). Discard the solids. Let cool before using.
*When using raw eggs in a recipe, be sure your eggs are very fresh (and preferably organic). I would recommend separating the egg white into a small bowl before adding to your cocktail shaker. It's not a fun task trying to fish out a small bit of egg shell from your cocktail shaker!