My new favorite discovery is aronia. Aronia, you ask? I was intrigued by a basket of little black berries at last week's farmer's market. They are more often called chokeberries because eaten out of hand they're extremely astringent. In fact, they feel like a mouthful of sand. I tried them, trust me. However, once cooked or baked they supposedly take on the flavor of cherries... I was told by a local farmer. I couldn't resist, and brought two baskets.
I plucked them from their stems, covered them with water and cooked them until soft. 30 minutes or so. Then, I put them through a food mill. To this juice, I added several cups of cane sugar and let it come to a rolling boil. This gave me a lovely jar of deep, dark syrup that I brought over to the barn for our dinner party. I also gathered a bottle of vodka and club soda thinking they might mix well together.
When guests arrived with a bottle of champagne, out came the aronia syrup. Into a glass it went and was topped with bubbly. Oh my, was that tasty and gorgeous. It looked like a blazing sunset caught in a glass! Next came the vodka and soda, and with Rebecca's addition of fresh lemon juice and zest- an overnight sensation was born. I have no idea what to call this gorgeous rosy hued concoction, but it sure is delicious! Look for chokeberries at northeastern farmer's markets now while the season lasts.