Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake Martini

Ever since finding a bottle Blueberry Vodka at the liquor store, I've been wanted to try to make something with some sort of cracked peppercorn additive. I had this strange flavor combination for the first time in a dessert at the Dakota restaurant years ago when they were still in Bandana Square. It works brilliantly. Like salt on watermelon, the pepper brings out the blueberry flavor and adds a unique bite to the aftertaste.

I first tried mixtures of the blueberry vodka with Absolut Peppar, but that wasn't quite right. Also, the drink was clear and the only blue addition would be Blue Curacao or some artificial coloring. So I decided via some trial and error that a homemade blueberry infused vodka was the answer along with cracked peppercorns as a garnish. Using real blueberries yields a vodka that absorbs much more flavor and color from the fruit's skins.
To stay true to the Dakota dessert I once had, I added additional flavors reminiscent of a classic cheesecake martini with the blueberry vodka instead of the typical cranberry juice.
  • 4 oz Blueberry-infused Vodka (see below)
  • 1 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Fresh Peppercorns in a Mill
  • Fresh Blueberries
Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Grind a generous amount of peppercorns onto the martini foam. Spear 3 or 4 blueberries with a skewer and lay across the glass rim.
Blueberry Infused Vodka

After great success infusing vodka with ginger, I decided to try it with blueberries as they're my favorite fruit. Also, the blueberry vodkas out there are generally clear and don't match the expectation of a blue colored cocktail.
  • fresh Blueberries
  • Vodka
  1. Wash the blueberries and pick out the duds.
  2. Using a small knife pierce the skin of each blueberry and add it to a mason jar until 3/4 full. Puncturing the berry allows the vodka access to the fruits internals and will steep much faster. (You could save a lot of time here by crushing the berries, but you'll end up with a ton of residue that is harder to filter out later.)
  3. Add vodka to each jar to fill.
  4. Screw on the lids tightly and shake. Store the jars in a cool dark place for at least 2 months. The longer the storage, the stronger the infusion. Shake the jars every other day or so until ready.
  5. After a couple months of storage, strain the jars into glass bottles with a metal coffee filter. (If you did the berry slicing method, there should be almost no residue and this will go quickly and easily.)