Day Trip Blueberry Amaro
- Blueberry Amaro w/ quassia, vanilla, gentian, wild cherry blossom, toasted coconut, almond, makrut, and Kellogg's Corn Flakes
Into the Bottle
You pass Riverhead and approach the North Road. A left at the T takes you to Briermere Farms where Clark sells beautiful fruits and famous pies made from the fruit from the orchards and groves beyond the stand. My friend in New Jersey is growing gorgeous blueberries. I'm buying them -- would you like any? I'll be picking them up Wednesday. High praise from Clark--I get about 693 lbs. The blueberries come in and we empty the trays into a big bin, crushing them lightly. We cover them with water and allow fermention to kick off. Blueberry wine. After just a few days the ferment is tasting great -- pronounced blueberry and racey tartness. We add distillates of wild cherry blossoms, toasted coconut, almond and makrut lime leaf. The new alcohol content will fortify the spirit, preventing any microbial activity from occurring, effectively stopping time and preserving the blueberry wine at its very peak.
Time to press. Next came the vanilla. I picked up .5 lb of Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Rare Tea Co. They were expensive. And amazing. And with that, came a responsibility to capture that flavor for the bottle. Mike Bagale is a chef and innovator who is notorious for sparking peoples imaginations through his food. And he was kind enough to give me step by step instructions. Hot liquid and whole beans overnight, airtight container. Chill and puree. Whole bean and liquid in Vitamix. Fine enough filter to strain the small pods out (if you care). Worked perfectly. Madagascar vanilla syrup added to the fortified blueberry wine. 6 boxes of Kellogg's original cornflakes added to a drum with sugar and water. I'm thinking of picnics when I was a kid... and how I felt when I first had Christina Tosi's cereal milk ice cream at Milk Bar. My favorite chefs, like Mike + Christina, have this ability to charge your imagination while simultaneously conjuring big nostalgia. They're creating something that is at once so familiar and so wholly new. And delicious.
When I write these liner notes on the bottles we release, I often talk about capturing nature, at its peak. Instead of being rooted in creativity, Matchbook spirits tend to be rooted in the natural world and its timing, ingredients coming from the farms co-fermenting and shaping one another. That is here too, with the blueberries and the cherry blossoms and the lime leaves. But here too, we layer in nostalgia. Drink this and taste a day trip to the north fork. A trip to Briermere for some fruit and pie. A thick blanket spread over 67 Steps Beach with an epic picnic built from stops along the North Road. Blueberry Day Trip is finished with classic amaro botanicals, quassia and gentian. Balancing the sweetness with a gentle bitter finish, like the bittersweet show of a 67 Steps sunset, breathtaking in its beauty as it beckons you home.