“This one’s a keeper. What should we call it?” I asked my husband after our initial tasting of this shockingly pink cocktail, a classic gin-and-citrus shakeup made interesting with aronia berry simple syrup.
“We should name it after the ducks!” My husband suggested. “Aronia….Ancona…very similar!”
“Nothing about this drink is duck-like,” I argued, and took another sip.
Chances are very good you’ve never eaten aronia berries, but that should change. Also called chokeberry, the fruit of this easy-to-grow deciduous shrub aren’t the best for fresh eating, but are excellent in various preserves.
I grow the Viking variety of aronia, which is bred for palatability, so the berries aren’t as sour as the fruit from more ornamental aronia plants. The dark purple, nearly black berries grow in easy-to-harvest clusters. They are firm and puckery, with a black currant sort of flavor.
Like many dark-pigmented fruits, aronia is positively bursting with anti-oxidants and various disease-fighting phytochemicals. I am cynically waiting for the $40-a-bottle aronia extract “super food” supplements to hit drugstore shelves everywhere. Mark my words, it’s only a matter of time before aronia gets to goji-berry treatment.
Buy your aronia shrub now and beat the hipster rush.
Aronia Simple Syrup
If you want to make the Aronia Gin Cocktail, you’re going to need Aronia Simple Syrup.
True to the same, nothing could be simpler. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine:
- 1 part fresh, black aronia berries
- 1 part sugar
- 2 parts water
Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer until the berries burst. Keep simmering until the syrup is reduced by about half. Strain the syrup and allow to cool completely.
The Aronia Gin Cocktail
You’ll need aronia simple syrup, gin and fresh lemon. If the aronia syrup just isn’t gonna happen, you can substitute blackcurrant syrup or Crème de cassis for a similar cocktail experience.
Printable Aronia Gin Cocktail Recipe
- 1 cup fresh black aronia berries, rinsed
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- ½ oz aronia syrup
- ¾ oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 oz gin
- Add the aronia berries, sugar and water to a non reactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer until the berries burst. Keep simmering until the syrup is reduced by about half. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer. Allow the syrup to cool completely before use.
- Fill a shaker with ice. Measure the aronia syrup, lemon juice and gin into the shaker. Cover and shake the cocktail hard for 15 to 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Serve immediately.