homemade huckleberry booze

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


Pushing through a dense web of bendy limbs, the sweetly perfumed stench of valerian fills my brain, making me dreamy as leaves crunch under my feet. With softly angled knees, I scan the bushes at eye-level for clustering orbs: cerulean, oxblood, indigo. Fingertips and smiling lips stained. My skin prickles at the thought of cougars stalking where trees meet the meadow and jealous bears watching me pluck their irresistible treats. I hope they don’t mind my visit. This is my favorite hike of the summer, and I’m not deterred…so far.

My basket becomes heavy with precious gems as rain soaks the ground. I will cherish this berry bounty all autumn and winter long. My little joys of summer.


Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

This year I decided to preserve my most favorite native fruit by making several preparations. (Don’t worry, I ate myself silly while harvesting too.) I briefly considered separating each Vaccinium species to test flavor nuances, but they each offer uniquely sweet, sour, and savory elements that make the combination really nice. Some are even kind of oniony! These recipes can also be made with plain old cultivated blueberries, or any other berry you’re going to really miss when the weather turns cold.


huckleberry honey cordial

This is my very first fruit cordial! I used the fruit spirits master recipe in the brand new and damn fantastic book Foraging and Feasting. I’ve read that fruit cordials age well as the alcohol mellows, but the authors of this book recommend drinking within a year. I am going to let this baby age for at least 3 months before trying, but I am curious to see how it holds up – if it lasts through the winter. 

1 cup huckleberries, mashed

4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

good vodka (gin or brandy)

Mash your huckleberries in a glass quart jar and then add the honey. Pour vodka over the fruit until filled to the top of the jar. Shake well! Allow to extract for a month in a cool, dark cabinet. Strain out the berries, making sure to mash out any remaining juice. Age for another month or two if you can wait. Serve in cocktails, mixed with champagne, or over ice.


huckleberry maple shrub

Thoughts of blueberry pancakes swimming in syrup came to mind as I was making this shrub. So, at the very last-minute, I grabbed my jug and poured that liquid heaven into my precious bubbling berries. This is the “hot method” for making shrubs, but you could also use the cold method found here and just add the maple syrup when you add the vinegar.

1 cup huckleberries

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

3/4 cup champagne vinegar

Heat 1 cup of water and the sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Add the berries and maple syrup, mashing them well with a fork, and simmer together on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar and shake well. Allow to infuse and mellow for 5 days before straining.


drunken huckleberries

You can soak berries (or other fruits for that matter) in vodka for a week and then use the infusion to make tasty cocktails. The berries become little boozy nuggets as they plump with alcohol while also imparting sweetness and flavor. I love to add a few soaked fruits as a garnish to each glass as a nice nibbling treat. I infused 1 pint of vodka with 1/2 cup of huckleberries.


berry kamikaze cocktail 

1 1/2 oz berry infused vodka (drunken huckleberries above)

1 oz Cointreau (triple sec)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 oz simple syrup (optional)

1 spoonful of berries as garnish

Shake all ingredients together with fresh ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float the berries on top to garnish.

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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8 Thoughts on “homemade huckleberry booze

  1. jealous of those huckleberries, less jealous of the large carnivores!

  2. Yum… so wanting this right now!

  3. Hucklebery Pickin Fool on May 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm said:

    I am so stoaked to see someone else who loves this precious commodity! I have some pulp of huckleberry’s left from juicing them. Thought I”d try to get the rest of the goodness out of them and thought of cordial thanks for the recipe!

  4. perfectlypuresoap on August 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm said:

    I just finished making Cherry cordial, which uses 1 cup sugar, a quart jar full of cherries (with pits), and fill to the top with vodka. Let age 15 days, turning the jar over every day. It is FABULOUS. I am doing it with small plums now. But wow, huckleberries would be delish. And I can spare 1 cup on such a luscious thing, for sure!

  5. HDWitch on August 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm said:

    I am going on my last huckleberry pick of the year today. You are so right about the ambiance of picking! I love losing myself in the sounds, smells and textures of the forest. I was looking for something different to do with them this year and I will definately be trying your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mirlandra on December 11, 2014 at 1:04 am said:

    Thanks! I’m from Oregon (Corvallis) but have been transplanted to ID. We had a bumper crop of huckleberries this year and I’m going to try a few of your ideas with the berries I have stashed in the freezer.

  7. Jerold Moss on December 30, 2014 at 12:09 am said:

    I like to take the top part of the bush ( branches , twigs ) and crush them up and boil in a quart of water with one to one and a half cups of the berries . Bring to a boil for five minutes and let cool , separate into two quart jars , add a cup of suger and fill the rest of the quart with vodka , put mixture in A dark room and shake every couple of days for four weeks . This makes the best summer drink when added with a few ice cubes in a glass , add half the mixture with cranberry juice , be careful though , last summer I drank to much and started giving stuff away I never even stole !

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