Blue-berry, that is!
At Solebury Orchards out in New Hope, PA, the Boyfriend and I picked six quarts of blueberries in a span of one hour. I don’t know if that’s snail’s pace or not, but it was some sweaty work!
Summer is when I am most amenable to considering the fruity cocktail a plausible drink choice, straying from my usual Gibson as it would be foolish to pass up the abundance of berries and stone fruits available to us at this time. More and more, I am becoming a fan of using infused soju as a base and then adding in tonic or seltzer to sparkle it up. Good combinations are the various fruits and herbs of your liking. In a previous post, Seoul: A Way of Life, I waxed on about the merits of sharing good times and vibes over a lovely infused soju cocktail. I want to piggy back on the spirit of that post by offering up this idea for a blueberry infused soju as we are entering its most venerable season.
We were in the bushes for an hour, picking the plumpest berries we could find and yielding about 6 quarts. And it was a fun hour because we knew we could stop, but what back-breaking work if you are doing it all day long, in the hot sun, ending up as bait for bugs that sting and bite, and not to mention the exposure to whatever pesticides/ insecticides farmers spray on and around their crops. Solebury does not spray their crops so we didn’t have to worry, but that’s not the case for many migrant workers across the country and why activist Cesar Chavez came to mind while I was crouching deep beneath blueberry branches with sweat forming beads on the tip of my nose. He devoted his entire life to fighting for workers’ human rights, creating the United Farm Workers union to further this mission.
Koreans understand struggle. Ours is a story full of kicking against the pricks, manifested in the long fight against Japanese colonial rule and their injustices of language and cultural suppression, land confiscation, military conscription, and economic exploitation. A legacy of much blood spilt. This is the same spirit that drives workers, all over the world, to demand decent pay and working conditions to this day.
So in honor of the struggle we are all engaged in, be it physical, mental or metaphysical, I raise a glass of this blueberry soju to toast our sweat equity. And if you picked your own berries, don’t be surprised about that salty aftertaste, it’s just your sweat equity.
375 ml soju
blueberries, about 1 cup
basil leaves, 2-3
1. Wash your blueberries if you haven’t picked them yourself. Let dry.
2. In a glass bottle of your choice (I use empty Bombay gin bottles because I like the way they look) add your blueberries and basil leaves. Pour in your soju.
3. Put on the bottle’s cap or lid and store in your refrigerator for at least 7 days and up to a month (but check on it regularly if you don’t want a particularly strongly flavored infusion).