Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blueberry-Citrus Sparkler

I'm so thrilled to be sharing a fun Summer drink with Christi's readers today! I live in San Antonio, Texas...where temps are still well into the 90s. That means we're always on the lookout for refreshing drinks to cool us off on warm afternoons. I like to create fun new drinks to keep things from getting boring, and I recently came up with antioxidant-packed Blueberry-Citrus Sparkler that features blueberries, lemon and lime. To enhance the cooling effect of this refreshing beverage, there's a hint of mint in it is well. Depending on any special health concerns you have, you can adjust the sweetener. I used a combination of sugar and Splenda, but you could use all sugar...half sugar/half Stevia or sub in agave nectar or honey.

A pitcher of this fizzy drink can be ready to drink in about 20 minutes. I like to make a big pitcher of this fruity drink the morning I want to serve it. This gives it plenty of time to chill in the fridge and let the flavors combine. However, I have one hint if you don't have time to pre-make and chill: freeze a second container of blueberries and use them as "ice" to quick chill each glass of Blueberry-Citrus Sparkler. It also adds a fun bit of color and an extra fruity kick!


Blueberry-Citrus Sparkler
a Weekend Gourmet Original


Ingredients:

1/2 cup lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)
1/3 cup lime juice
1 pint blueberries
5 fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups well-chilled sparkling water (I used Pellegrino)
Additional sweetener (optional)
Additional pint of blueberries to freeze (optional)

Directions:
Make the mint simple syrup. Combine the 1 cup water, sugar and mint leaves in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let the simple syrup cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place the blueberries in a bowl and puree with an immersion blender. Alternately, you can place the blueberries in a blender to puree them. Place a large mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the pureed blueberries into the strainer. Use a spoon to press the juice through the strainer, leaving the peels behind. Pour the blueberry juice into a pitcher.
Juice the lemons and limes. I used one large lime and three large Meyer lemons, but the important thing is to end up with 3/4 cups of juice. Pour the lemon-lime mixture into the pitcher with the blueberry juice.
Remove the mint leaves from the simple syrup and add to the juices in the pitcher. Add 3 cups sparkling water and taste. You may find the lemonade is the perfect sweet-tart mixture you like. I added an additional 1/2 cup of Splenda that measures like sugar, but you could add agave or stevia instead if you prefer.
Chill for at least an hour if you have time. If not, pre-freeeze a second pint of blueberries and float a few of them in each glass to chill the drinks!

That's it! This is a refreshing drink that is perfect for al fresco sipping. To make it into a fun adult beverage, simply add a shot of your favorite vodka! The mint flavor is very subtle, but it does enhance the cooling effect of the drink. We enjoyed this with a simple dinner of grilled fish topped with mango pico de gallo, and the fruity flavors matched really well together. I hope you'll give my bubbly beverage a try very soon! Again, feel free to sweeten this beverage with any of the mentioned sweeteners...depending on any dietary issues you have. Thanks to Christi for letting me share with you today!