Local Spirit Spotlight: Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur

Plus three cocktail recipes featuring the smashing spirit

By Seattle Mag October 16, 2014


Hello lovers and supporters on Washington state distilleries! We talk a lot here about an assortment of locally-made spirits and liqueurs, often using them in recipes, and mentioning new ones. But I thought it’d be fun to discuss a single spirit or liqueur made locally, with some cocktail recipes that use it.

This week, since I’m dreaming of summer (which seems so far in the past already), the spotlight is on Sidetrack Distillery’s Blueberry liqueur, which is a delicious treat that carries summer in every sip. Blueberry liqueurs are a somewhat rare breed, which may be why of all the delicious Sidetrack fruit liqueurs, it remains my favorite. Made with berries grown on their farm–where the distillery is, making it a true farm-to-still experience–the liqueur’s blueberry flavor is rich and round and underlined by just the faintest hint of citrus and tang of fresh berries. It’s not overly sweet, either, as many liqueurs are, which helps to make it a friendlier ingredient in cocktail recipes.

I went out the distillery/farm this summer (the distiller’s been around since 2010), which is in a lush, somewhat hidden agrarian valley outside of Kent on the banks of the Green River, not only to taste their superb range of products, but also to pick berries. I ended up with a big batch of the blueberries–though, really, I probably ate as many as I picked–as well as a few bottles of Sidetrack products. You can pick up its blueberry liqueur in local liquor stores. Try it on its own, with ice, or in one of the below recipes. Oh, it’s also fantastic over vanilla ice cream!

Sparkling in Blue
This is an easy-to-make bubbly number. It’s ideal before or after a meal, and goes especially well with brunch. Oh, if your sparkling wine isn’t well-chilled, don’t be shy about adding an ice cube.

1-1/2 ounces Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur

4 ounces chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Pour the liqueur into a flute glass. Top with the sparkling wine.

2. Carefully, using a long spoon, stir from the bottom to the top of the glass. Twist the twist over and drop it in.

Stars in a Blue Sky
This is based on the Shooting Star recipe from my book Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, but here instead of that drink’s strawberry liqueur, we’re subbing in blueberry–with star-worthy results.

Ice cubes

1 -1/2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company gin

1 ounce Sidetrack Blueberry liqueur

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 dash peach bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, blueberry liqueur, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Royal Cocktail #4
In Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual (1940 version), there are three Royal Cocktails. I’m really updating #2, subbing in Sidetrack Blueberry for Cherry Brandy. But I feel this means the below drink needs a whole new name–hence this being #4.

Cracked ice

1 ounce Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur

1 ounce Voyager gin

1 ounce Dolin dry vermouth

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink royally.


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