Blueberries are the taste of summer, intensely tangy and sweet. The epitome of this fleeting season, they make a wonderful drink to sip with friends as the sun sinks behind an indigo horizon.

Picking blueberries is lodged in our collective summer memories that are pure as the season itself. One of the few fruits indigenous to North America, several varieties have been hybridized for commercial production; others are found in the wild. Those big, juicy berries sold in markets are the highbush variety, plump and loaded with juice. The tiny lowbush blueberries grow wild and are hidden along the sandy shores of cold lakes; their flavors snap and pop with a bright tang.

These blue fruits are loaded with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants and are considered a low-calorie superfood. Native Americans dubbed blueberries star fruits for the five-pointed star shape at the berries' end. Aromatic and distinctive, they star in my summer drinks.

Blueberry cocktails became more popular with the rise in the craft of mixology and you'll find them in cosmos, mojitos, margaritas, daiquiris, martinis, lemonades and more. The best way to prepare them is by muddling to release their juices directly into the glass. Delicate and refreshing, the blueberries are best paired with lighter spirits — vodka, gin, tequila, white rum — to allow their essence to shine through without being overpowered.

Local blueberries are coming into season and I just can't get enough. Find them growing wild along the shores of Lake Superior and buy them up at farmers markets and co-ops. When you have too many, make a cocktail or mocktail and savor each summery sip.

Beth Dooley is the author of "The Perennial Kitchen." Find her at

Blueberry Mojito

Makes 2 drinks.

This is easily doubled or tripled for a party. Just be sure to use the freshest, best-tasting blueberries. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

• 10 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

• 2 tsp. sugar

• 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, to taste

• 4 oz. (8 tbsp.) white rum or vodka (see Tip)

• Ice

• Sparkling water or club soda

• Lime wedges, for garnish


Divide the blueberries, mint and sugar between two glasses. Using a metal spoon or wooden muddle, gently crush the berries with the mint and sugar for about 30 seconds, allowing the flavors to meld.

Add the lime juice and rum or vodka, then fill the glasses with ice and a splash of sparkling water and stir well. Garnish with the lime and mint.

Tip: For a mocktail, omit the vodka or rum and substitute more lime juice, to taste.