Homegrown raspberries are one of my main motivations for keeping up the allotment. I adore them with a passion only matched by my devotion to sweet peas. I found myself in a wonderful position a couple of weeks ago: I had too many raspberries. Some of them were a bit squished so a batch of raspberry vodka seemed the best use for them. Straining and bottling up at the weekend, I wanted to taste it in a cocktail straight away but didn't have time for exhaustive recipe testing. Instead I used the raspberry vodka in place of sweet vermouth in one of my favourite classic cocktails. An Americano is a simple cocktail combining bitter Campari, sweet Vermouth and soda water. I'm not sure cocktail purists would approve of my variation but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cocktails based on bitter spirits like Campari seem to refresh and revive in a way that other cocktails just can't manage.
I made my raspberry vodka by covering 370g of raspberries in 300mL of vodka in a Kilner jar. After two weeks I strained out the raspberries and added about 60g of sugar to taste. I like mine just sweet enough to bring out the flavour of the raspberries but not overwhelmingly sweet as I tend to use simple syrup in cocktails which adds extra sweetness.
I'm looking forward to experimenting properly with my raspberry vodka. The beautiful colour alone makes it worthy of a place in my cocktail cupboard.
recipe (serves one)
30mL raspberry vodka
lime to garnish
Combine the raspberry vodka and the Campari in a pretty glass, add plenty of ice and top with a dash of soda water. Garnish with lime slices (I like the contrast between the pink and the green).