Preserving With Spirits at Mezze Bistro

To further our commitment to feature independent distilleries and give a nod to the age-old custom of boozy fruit, we thought a class featuring canning with spirits made perfect sense. Apart from freezing, it’s about the simplest preservation method there is.

On Sunday, September 11, Mezze Bistro + Bar hosted Preserving With Spirits as part of Berkshire Grown’s Preserving the Bounty workshop series. Beautiful weather provided the opportunity to host the event outside overlooking the pond, home to our resident ducks. Our group had a great time learning how to make spirit infusions, related cocktails and condiments during the two-hour workshop.

To kick off the afternoon, each participant received a fresh, fiery hot bloody mary made with chile-infused vodka and homemade tomato juice. Lauren Gotlieb, our knowledgeable leader and founder of BeeSweet, began with a brief talk about what we would learn during the workshop while guests enjoyed their cocktails in the sunshine. Our first hands-on creation was spiced vodka from Berkshire Mountain Distillers infused with habanero peppers and garlic from Mighty Food Farm, the same infusion used to create our bloody marys. We then moved on to quick pickled carrots and cherry tomatoes. Next, Lauren guided the group through Blueberry Bourbon — bourbon infused with local wild blueberries from Benson Place. We mixed the infusion with Sweet Brook Farm maple syrup to create a beautiful and delicious cocktail and then created a tipsy trifle with homemade blueberry cake, High Lawn Farm whipped cream and the remaining bourbon-infused blueberries. Yum!

As an added bonus, we each took home a jar of quick pickles, and a bottle each of infused spiced vodka and blueberry bourbon. Let’s just say there are no quick pickles left in my fridge and the blueberry bourbon is on the calendar for opening at its earliest possible date! A terrific event all around. Special thanks to Lauren Gotlieb and Caitlin Harrison for their work in making it happen.