Up North Raspberry and Rye

North Coast Rye - original watercolor by the Cocktail Artist
We've been spending some time in Northern Michigan (like we do every summer) and picked up a bottle of North Coast Rye from the Traverse City Whiskey Co. We've been fans of their bourbon for awhile, but this rye is really nice.

Right now black raspberries are in season here in the north, so we've been picking them for pie. These berries have a wonderful flavor, but they are pretty fragile and don't keep for more than a day or so. After using what we needed for the pie, we simmered the remaining berries with water and sugar to make a black raspberry syrup. The syrup is a beautiful deep purple/red color - a color, by the way, that will stain absolutely anything, so work with this carefully! The berry syrup can be added to club soda or to lemonade to make a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, but since we started out this post talking about the rye whiskey you can probably guess where we're going...

Our first experiment with the North Coast Rye and the fresh raspberry syrup was a huge hit. We added a bit of lime juice, along with Grand Marnier and orange bitters, and ended up with a fantastic tasting cocktail that looks very pretty too. We have previously posted a cocktail we made with raspberry syrup - the Raspberry Smash, which used red raspberries. For our black raspberry syrup we used more berries than called for in our original raspberry syrup recipe and we really liked the more intense berry flavor (see the end of this post for the Black Raspberry Syrup recipe). Black raspberries are harder to come by, so we will probably have to give this a try with the red berries when we run out of the syrup we just made.  The color won't be the same, but the cocktail should be just fine.

Cheers from the North Coast!

Up North Raspberry and Rye Cocktail with Traverse City North Coast Rye

Up North Raspberry and Rye

1 1/2 ounce Traverse City Whiskey Co. North Coast Rye
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh black raspberry syrup
dashes of orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with a lime twist.

Picking black raspberries

Freshly picked black raspberries

Tractor at the berry farm - by the Cocktail Artist

Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan on an overcast day - by the Cocktail Artist

The Cocktail Artist field trip

Black Raspberry Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh black raspberries 

Add water and sugar to saucepan on medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add berries and simmer for 5 minutes - breaking up berries with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer - pressing on the fruit pulp.
Cool to room temperature and funnel into a bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Use the syrup in cocktails or add to club soda with a squeeze of lemon for a non-alcoholic drink.

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