Hooray for summer! It's time to head outdoors and enjoy time and food with friends and family. It's not quite berry season yet, but I think a blueberry pie soda is in order for any summer cookout on the agenda.
Since the blueberries aren't quite out yet (around here anyway), I'm going to take a slightly different approach with this. I lamented last year or so about not being able to find any pure juices for certain fruits (particularly cranberry, which is usually only found in juice cocktails) and then I discovered R.W. Knudsen. They have a line of "Just Juice" which has Black Cherry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Tart Cherry, Black Currant, Aronia Berry, and Pomegranate. I tried the cranberry straight up and discovered why it's not typically packaged by itself, it is way beyond tart!
Anyway, I found them at Walmart and I was very pleased with the way my Cranberry Sparkling Cider turned out this past holiday season (I made 2 or 3 kegs for various events and I didn't have to mash cranberries), so I figured it was time to try the blueberry.
For blueberry pie, I picked some caramel malt and butter flavoring for the crust flavor, the blueberry juice for that deep berry flavor, and some vanilla flavor to round it out. It may not be the perfect blueberry pie, but it turned out quite nicely. It was a favorite at our Memorial Day picnic.
1 1/4 cup blueberry juice (R.W. Knudsen Family Just Juice, 100% Blueberry)
1/4 c caramel malt (Weyermann Caramunich III Malt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp butter flavor
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 gallon carbonated water
Crush and steep the malt in about 2 cups of water. Strain and set aside. Heat the sugar with 1/2 cup or so of water to dissolve or invert if you wish. Combine the sugar, malt extract, juice and flavorings for your syrup. There's a pretty heavy volume of water, so it is a thin syrup. This recipe works well to add the water and then carbonate in a keg or siphon for the best carbonation, but it does still work as a syrup + seltzer version as well.