I can’t think of anything more refreshing than a glass of home-mixed lemonade on a hot summer day. And we have plenty of hot summer days here in Louisiana. I decided to add blueberries from my backyard to make a “Blueberry Lemonade” aromatic variation. Then why not kick things up a notch and make a “Blueberry – Lemon Moscow Mule?” That cocktail hit the spot, too. I added frozen blueberries and fresh mint for garnish to my icy summertime drinks.
Homemade “Blueberry Lemonade” is so simple and quick to make. The result is a thirst-quenching summer beverage especially when served over crushed ice or ice cubes. You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries to make this drink and either fresh lemons or lemon juice concentrate.
The “secret ingredient” in this recipe is using “Caster Sugar” for a sweetener. This superfine sugar is somewhere in texture between regular sugar and confectioners’ sugar and is most often used in desserts. The advantage of using this sugar in this beverage is that it dissolves very quickly and easily. In fact, it is not necessary to bring the pot to a boil to dissolve the sugar. I added the sugar after straining the blueberries.
You can use the blueberry-lemon syrup to make a refreshing “Moscow Mule” cocktail by adding the syrup, ginger beer and vodka. Note: The term “Ginger Beer” is sort of misleading — it is actually a non-alcoholic carbonated beverage. You can purchase ginger beer in either cans or long-neck bottles — you really have to experiment to find a brand that you like. There are subtle differences in flavor.
My favorite brand of ginger beer is “Reed’s Craft Ginger Beer.” This ginger beer did not overpower the blueberry-lemon syrup. I also am using a Louisiana-brand vodka, “Yellow Fin.” It is an excellent brand of vodka and is made from sugar cane, not to mention that everybody liked the unique bottle shape. SMIRNOFF™ No. 21 vodka was originally used in Moscow Mule cocktails. Really, the brand of vodka used is your choice.
Making the Recipe
My recipe process consists of boiling the blueberries in water for several minutes until the blueberries pop. Then mash and strain the berries through a fine sieve. Stir in the Caster Sugar. Next add freshly squeezed lemons or lemon juice concentrate. Chill the mixture for several hours; then use this syrup to make the lemonade and Moscow Mules.
The chilled concentrate yields about two cups concentrate which dilutes to make six drinks. It can keep refrigerated for several weeks. If you don’t have fresh lemons, you can substitute lemon juice concentrate. And you can cut down on the sugar by substituting in some artificial sugar substitute.
For a “Moscow Mule” variation, I filled copper mugs half full with ice cubes. Then I added six oz of ginger beer to each mug along with my blueberry-lemon syrup and a jig of vodka for a refreshing cocktail. Our weekly music group celebrated the beginning of summer with these cocktails. When served in iced copper mugs, these these cocktails had a distinct fruity and icy cold taste. Delicious!
Why copper mugs? Moscow Mules are traditionally served in copper mugs. According the the WEB Restaurant Store, ” Copper is a superior thermal conductor, so copper mugs respond to the temperature of what is inside, keeping it chilled or warm depending on the beverage. When containing a Moscow mule, copper mugs become cool, creating a chilling sensation when sipped.” (See Reference.) And this was so true; these were the best summer cocktails that I’ve had in a long time! When you sipped the cocktail you felt the chilled copper mug effect like a “zing.”
You get the best “zing” from copper mugs which do not have an inner lining coating as shown above. Since copper can leach into some beverages, which is not healthy, many copper mugs have been coated on the inside. So if you plan to drink alot of Moscow Mules, safety would suggest purchasing coated mugs. You don’t get the “zing” but it is safer. I plan on drinking these cocktails only occasionally; and used a non-coated mug, which incidentally was purchased at Walmart.
When you are ready to make a glass of “Blueberry Lemonade,” partially fill a 12-oz to 16-oz glass with ice cubes or chipped ice. Add 6-oz water or half of a 12-oz can of ginger beer to each glass. Add 1/3 cup of blueberry-lemon concentrate. Stir. Garnish with fresh mint and frozen blueberries. Enjoy this refreshing drink!
Summer has arrived here in Louisiana, along with our traditional afternoon thunder storms and muggy weather. These drinks make a wonderful respite from our heat! Enjoy.
Blueberry Lemonade plus Moscow Mule Cocktails
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (plus additional frozen blueberries for garnish)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup Caster Sugar
- 6 fresh lemons (or more, if needed) or 3/4 cup lemon juice concentrate
- ice cubes or crushed ice
- 1/2 can (12 oz can) ginger beer per serving, (or 3 cans ginger beer for six servings), optional, if using ginger beer
- 1 oz vodka per serving, or (6 oz vodka for six servings), optional if using vodka
- fresh mint leaves, optional, garnish
- frozen blueberries, optional, garnish
Instructions and Steps:
- Add blueberries and 1 cup water to medium-sized pot. Bring to boil on stove. Then turn heat to low and let blueberries simmer for five minutes.
- Remove blueberries from stove and mash/crush blueberries. (I used a potato masher for this step.)
- Strain blueberries through a fine sieve into a medium-sized bowl, smashing as much pulp as possible.
- Stir in Caster Sugar while blueberries are still hot and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Squeeze enough lemons (approx 6 lemons) to make 3/4 cup lemon juice and add to blueberry concentrate. Or, optionally, use 3/4 cup lemon juice concentrate. Stir to combine.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours until chilled.
- When ready to serve, fill 12 oz to 16 oz glasses or the copper mugs one-half full with ice cubes or crushed ice.
- Add either 6 oz water or 1/2 can (6 oz) ginger beer to each glass or mug.
- Pour in 1/3 cup blueberry lemon concentrate to each glass. Stir.
- If desired, add 1 oz vodka to each glass.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves and additional frozen blueberries, if desired.