Blueberry season is in full swing and I’m making the most of several pounds of freshly picked berries with a pairing that’s just as good during these hot, late August days as when the first leaves begin to fall. With cooler weather just around the corner, I went with bourbon for this simple, equal parts cocktail. Toasty crostinis topped with goat cheese, blueberries, and thyme make the perfect accompaniment, with balanced sweet, savory, and tart flavors. The best part of this simple combo is that you only need to put the work into making one blueberry compote that can then be used both for the cocktail and hors d’oeuvres!
Blueberry Thyme Goat Cheese Crostinis
Yield: Makes 48
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 oz goat cheese, softened to room temperature
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat to 350°.
Cut baguette in half. Cut 48 ¼ inch thick slices. Note: This recipe can be easily halved by using only one half of the baguette!
Place slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry compote by combining ½ cup of water, ½ cup of sugar, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice with 2 cups of fresh blueberries in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved. When the compote is a deep red color and the berries begin to burst, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the crostinis and the compote have cooled, top each crostini with about 1 tsp of softened goat cheese (it will be much easier to spread), a dollop of blueberry compote, and a small sprig of fresh thyme. Serve immediately. Leftover compote can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Blueberry Bourbon Reviver
Inspired by the proportions of the classic Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail, this recipe swaps out the gin for bourbon and the triple sec (orange liqueur) for our delicious blueberry compote. Since the compote still contains berries, unlike a syrup, you’ll want to make sure you fine strain this drink after shaking. If you’re feeling adventurous, rinse your glass with about ⅛ oz of absinthe like the classic CR recipe! I find this cocktail delicious with and without the absinthe rinse, so try it both ways and see what you prefer. One thing to keep in mind is that blueberries, even in peak season, can vary wildly in their level of sweetness. Before batching cocktails for a group, test the recipe with your own compote to see if you need to add .25 oz of simple syrup to offset the tartness of the berries.
1 oz bourbon (I used Redemption Bourbon)
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz blueberry compote*
Optional: .25 oz simple syrup, or to taste (depends on how tart your blueberries are!)
Optional: about ⅛ oz absinthe to rinse the glass
Create blueberry compote following the instructions above.
If using the absinthe rinse, pour a small amount (about ⅛ oz) into your chilled coupe glass and swirl to coat. Discard absinthe.
Add first four ingredients (plus or minus the simple syrup) and ice to a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Fine strain into your absinthe-rinsed coupe (or not!) and garnish with blueberries (and edible flowers, if desired. White phlox shown).