A festive cocktail for Syttende Mai
Raspberries and blueberries are infused in vodka for this refreshing red and blue drink
Taste of Norway Editor
Memories of Syttende Mai in Seattle go way back. A box of memorabilia in my office includes yellowed clippings of old Ballard News-Tribune stories about the festivities with photos of a tiny me decked out in my pint-sized bunad at the parade. I made it in the newspaper for a couple of years in a row back when I was just a few years old. Of course, I’m not sure if I even remember those specific times—all those parades of my youth blend together in my memories.
But one thing is sure, those parades were special, a time to gather with my parents and both sets of grandparents to celebrate our heritage. I have quite a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in those times, and my experience of the Syttende Mai festival is much different now that I’m adult.
In my youth, I ate the pølse med lompe or pølse med lefse that my dad would buy for me along the parade route and I’d wash it down with orange Solo soda—some of my most distinct flavor memories. Today I think more widely about the celebration’s foods, and I know a cocktail would be in order for a celebration. While aquavit is typically my go-to Syttende Mai drink, I’m switching it up this year with a berry-infused cocktail with a vivid color.
Raspberries and blueberries—the flavors of Scandinavian Queen’s Jam—are quickly infused in vodka (muddling speeds the process along) and then accented with the elegant sweetness of Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine, and a touch of lavender bitters. The result is a beautiful cocktail that’s as festive as can be—and a nice change of pace from the typical aquavit. The fact that it matches all the red and blue we’ll be seeing on Syttende Mai is just a bonus.
2 oz. vodka
1 spoonful frozen blueberries
1 spoonful frozen raspberries
¼-½ oz. Lillet Blanc
2 dashes lavender bitters, optional but recommended
fresh blueberries & raspberries for garnish
Chill a martini glass.
Meanwhile, in a cocktail shaker, pour vodka over blueberries and raspberries. Muddle a bit then let sit for about five minutes to let the flavors infuse the vodka. Add Lillet Blanc, lavender bitters, and a cup of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the chilled glass.
Garnish with a toothpick threaded with berries. Makes 1 cocktail.
Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).
This article originally appeared in the May 4, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.