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Blueberries are cool in this cocktail

Recipe: Fresh fruit beverage also can be nonalcoholic

Pink-purple cocktail in glass with mint sprig
Now doesn't that look refreshing? Blueberry Smash, coming right up. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

No, no, no, no and nope -- not going to turn that oven on. Not until the A/C is fixed, anyway, and that's a week off. (Another pandemic effect.)

In the meantime, all these gorgeous blueberries are out there. How to use them in a new way that does not involve baking?

Well, I found a great little cocktail recipe that makes the most of the fruit, and also lets me use the excellent cocktail shaker than my son gave me last year. (I taught him to cook, but he's way ahead of me on cocktail making.) If you don't have a shaker, use a small deep bowl or glass measuring container to mix this in, and have a wire strainer at hand.

I used bourbon as the alcohol base, but vodka, tequila or white rum also would work -- whatever floats your boat. Or, for a nonalcoholic version, skip the liquor addition, and finish the drink with ginger ale, club soda or Italian lemon soda.

Blueberry Smash cocktail

Serves 1

Blueberries, lemon slices and mint sprigs ready
Just a few ingredients needed for this drink.


1/2 of a lemon, sliced into thin wedges (mine in the photo were too thick)

1/4 cup fresh blueberries (check for stems before using)

8-10 fresh mint leaves (basil would make a good substitute)

2 ounces bourbon, vodka, tequila or white rum

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup* or agave nectar


Optional garnishes:

Mint sprig, blueberries on a pick or a lemon twist


Place the lemon wedges and blueberries in the shaker, then sprinkle the mint leaves over them. Using a muddler or the thick handle of a wooden spoon, muddle (crush) the mint into the blueberries and lemon wedges until the berries are smooshed and the lemon wedges are broken down.

Add the bourbon, simple syrup, and 6 or so ice cubes to the shaker. Replace the top and shake until it's cold, about 30 seconds. (Stir like crazy if you're making this in a bowl.)

Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Shake the shaker one more time, and using the built-in strainer or a mesh kitchen strainer, strain the drink into the glass. (Add soda here if making it nonalcoholic.) Garnish as desired and enjoy.

*Simple syrup is easy to make in the microwave: Place equal parts granulated sugar and water in a microwave-safe container (glass measuring cup is perfect), zap for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, then allow to cool. Save any extra in a closed container in the refrigerator. It also can be made by boiling the sugar and water on the stove until sugar is completely dissolved.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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