Sunday, April 14, 2013

Booze of the Week: Strawberry Lemon Liqueur

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

There may very well be a strawberry shortage and/or increase in price in Nova Scotia this summer. I can see it coming.

The provincial newspaper reported this week an infection is ravaging about 40% of the strawberry crop. It’s cause is two virus carried by aphids.

To combat the spread, the growers in the Truro area have pulled up all their plants to replant new and start over. They’re doing this to ensure the disease doesn’t spread to the larger Annapolis Valley strawberry fields. It’s going to be financially hard on a lot of people.

The strawberry industry is valued at about $17.5 million to the Nova Scotia economy. Most of that money is from the sale of live plants to the United States. Bet you didn’t know that.

So one would assume there’ll be a bit of a shortage of US berries coming back up over the border. Hence, I expect prices to stay high instead of slump as the picking season arrives.

The newly planted plants probably won't bear as well as more established ones either, perhaps making the crop smaller here. This will play havoc on the community strawberry supper fundraisers that are so prevalent across the province in June.

It’s enough to make you need a drink. Something strawberry maybe... like this liqueur.

I made this from frozen berries. I find them better for making liqueurs than fresh. It sounds a little counter intuitive, doesn’t it. I think it’s because the juice comes out of the frozen berries better since the cell structure has been broken down during freezing.

I’m not sure exactly what made me think to do this. It may have been the lemonade I walked past in the grocery. I did go back and pick it up.

A lot of the quality of this liqueur depends on the lemonade you choose. We have a brand sold here that tastes quite good. It’s called Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade. It seems to be nearly constantly “on sale” at the Superstore. I haven’t quite figured that one out...

Crap lemonade and flavourless berries will give you crap strawberry lemon liqueur, so choose carefully. Good berries + good lemonade = tasty liqueur.

A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy – this would be perfect as a relaxing drink served with soda after a hard morning’s work in the yard. Spring may officially be here, so spring-like weather can’t be too far behind. Can it? I say this looking out the window at a mix of rain and snow falling down...

Strawberry Lemon Liqueur
Time: 1 week  |  Yield 3 x 375 ml
250 g strawberries
2 cups decent lemonade
1 cup sugar
rind of 1 lemon
750 ml vodka

Wash, hull and halve the berries. Place in a saucepan with the lemonade, sugar and rind.

Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 5 minutes. Mash the berries as the mixture simmers.

Let it cool slightly and then combine with the vodka in a large jar. Allow to infuse on the counter for 1 week.

At the end of the week strain the solids out through fine cotton (or similar fine mesh) and bottle.


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