In our garden we have some honeysuckle shrubs. That plant is very important in the beginning of the June when it usually starts to fruit, first of all shrubs. Blue and sour berries are similar to bilberry in taste and appearance but honeysuckle berries are sourer though .
This summer our honeysuckle had time to fruit before heavy heat burnt down all plants and shrubs and forced trees to drop their fruits.
I’ve managed to gather a lot of honeysuckle berries and enjoyed it in daiquiri. Later I’ve thought that I would make some new cocktails and started to experiment on it.
It was logical to use blueberry or bilberry liqueur and vodka. I took my bottle of blueberry grappa liqueur and then decided to prefer grape based spirit, namely cognac (it seems French brandy will work well too).
- 50 grams honeysuckle berries,
- 20 ml blueberry grappa liqueur (Dolci Colli Liquore Grappa e Mirtilli [Distillerie Franciacorta])),
- 45 ml cognac (Monnet VSOP).
Muddle berries in a shaker with liqueur and Cognac, add ice and shake. Serve in a cocktail glass or coupe.
It starts with nose of fresh and sour honeysuckle with sweeter blueberry liqueur on the background. Sweet and sour berries mix continues on the tongue and becomes a little bitter on the palate. Aftertaste is full of delicious tartness from crushed grapes and honeysuckle seeds as well as dry wood undertones.
This cocktail is light and very pleasant but some depth and weight from cognac are present there though.
My second effort was with simplier ingredients if acai-flavoured vodka can be regarded as simple one.
This time I used Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka. It’s sweetened so I decided to omit liqueur.
- 50 ml Van Gogh Acai Blueberry Vodka,
- 50 grams honeysuckle berries,
- 10 ml fresh lemon juice,
- dash grenadine.
Muddle berries in shaker with lemon juice and grenadine, add vodka and ice, then shake. Serve in a cocktail glass.
Here in the nose sweet and a bit tart açaí flavour appears along with light honeysuckle aroma. The sip is mildly sour, with perfect balance with sweetness. Amazing silk mouthfeel, then bright honeysuckle sourness and light tart finish.
What a lovely drink! Light as a cloud, smooth as a silk, fresh as a morning. I was really proud of that!
I was drinking my Lonicera Cocktail over until my berries stock comes to end. Only then I turned to another spirit to mix another cocktail. I didn’t think too long and made Margarita variation.
- 60 ml tequila blanco 100% agave (Don Fernando Tequila Blanco),
- 20 ml Cointreau,
- 20 ml fresh lime juice,
- 50-60 grams honeysuckle berries.
Muddle berries in shaker with Cointreau and lime juice (or just blend it shortly without other ingredients, then add it to shaker). Add tequila and ice, shake well. Serve in a margarita glass with salt rim.
This Margarita was surprisingly sweet at the start. It continues with long sour and tart flavour where lime zest, oily tequila and honeysuckle seeds combines very well. At finish I found light berries/citrus aftertaste and fresh tomato hint. Being combined with sour juices, Don Fernando Tequila Blanco one more time gave me light tomato undertone.
Well, that Margarita is definitely too exotic and not for everyday drinking. But two or three glasses in next June when honeysuckle will be in season… Why not?