Sunday, January 30, 2011

Liquor and Blueberries

J and I are making booze and getting ready to travel for a research trip. Lots and lots of blueberry booze. Left is the blueberry liquer steeping next to our creepy Canadian Mounty full of wild rice, which I keep on our kitchen window sill to remind me of Snowy City and of creepy novelty plastic. Unlike the clemantines in brandy, which are still visible, the blueberries in vodka are PITCH BLACK. There's a little edge of purple when the bottle is turned, but it's so dark you can't even see the berries. Both the blueberries and the clemantines will steep for two weeks, then get strained and decanted with some sugar syrup to cut the bite. And then they will be delicious.

We froze five pounds of blueberries last summer when we got them cheap, with the intention of making mead with them, and they finally lost the competition for freezer space this week. About a pound ended up in vodka. The other four pounds did make it into the mead.

Four pounds of blueberries went in with six pounds of honey and a whole lot of hot water and some yeast, and went into the secondary fermenter yesterday tasting ok but a little too bitter on the back end. The only brewshop in the little city of Overcast has a very limited selection of yeasts, so I used a champagne yeast for this and for the pear cider, and it has a definite champagne taste. I'm not a fan of champagne. (Crazy, I know!) The booming metropolis of Snowy City had one of the best homebrew shops in the country right down the street from my undergrad, and they carried a yeast recommended for ciders and meads. I might have to switch to mail ordering my yeasts; the brewshop here also has a very disappointing selection of malted grain and hops. We also pitched our first beer this week (yay! A post just on that later), and were pretty limited by the selection.

But between the pear cider, the blueberry mead, and the beer, we're going to run out of bottles pretty soon and have a lot of alcohol in the house, even if we give away a lot of it. The pear cider, which was only three gallons, bottled up to thirteen wine bottles. Six of those are going to friends tomorrow and one's already been drank. But still--that leaves six wine bottles. Need more friends. I spent all fall going crazy with all the boxes of beer and wine bottles stacking up in my office, but we might have to start up collection again. I'm contemplating giving a bottle to Dr. Asiago, but I don't know if that would be too awkward.

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