Have you ever wanted to make a drink that is multi-layered and has a beautiful gradient? It’s really easy when you have a dark colored syrup and ice! Syrups work well in separated cocktails because they are usually pretty dense, thanks to the high sugar content. High density liquids tend to sink to the bottom of the glass while the rest of the cocktail will float on top. It might take some stirring to fully incorporate with the rest of the drink, but that also means it’s less likely that your drink will be all mixed up by the time you move it from the bar to the table. When combined with lighter colored liquids, the darkness of the syrup makes for a dramatic color difference.
In addition to the syrup, an important factor in creating a nicely separated cocktail is the ice. When you’re pouring the lighter colored layer on top of the darker layer, the ice keeps the two layers from splashing together because the liquid slowly trickles through the mesh of ice. The ice chunks also keep the layers separated when you transport the cocktail from one place to another because they lock the liquid into place.
With this in mind, I created a fancy looking cocktail with blueberries. I knew I wanted the deep magenta color of the blueberries to stand out, so I decided to make a tiki cocktail (which means rum based). Tiki cocktails can get away with having lots of crushed ice, and they also tend to use orgeat (almond syrup). I wanted the cloudiness of the orgeat to help emphasize the color difference when combined with the blueberry syrup. The decision to use lemon over lime was made because I didn’t want the aromatics of lime to overpower the subtle notes of blueberry. When I only want to add sour notes without extra flavor or scent, I opt for lemon. This combination was good, but it was a little sweet with no depth. The bitterness and spice that Angostura added was the perfect finishing touch to add complexity.
Blueberry Tiki Cocktail
- 2 oz light rum
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz orgeat
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 oz blueberry syrup (below)
Combine everything except the blueberry syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake. Pour the blueberry syrup in a glass and fill to the top with crushed ice. Slowly strain the cocktail into the glass, making sure not to disturb the ice chunks. Garnish with a mint bouquet and a straw.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Combine everything into a small pot. Using your muddler, crush all of the blueberries. Heat on low and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain the solids out and transfer the liquid into a bottle.