Hello all, it’s New Year’s Eve!  Have you got your signature cocktail picked out?  Ours is the “French Martini”, not really a true martini but rather a raspberry-pineapple cocktail.  Along with the Lemon Drop and Cosmopolitans, it was part of the flavored “martini” craze during the 90’s here in the states. It is typically made with Chambord, a raspberry liqueur named after the castle in France where Louis XIV was introduced to the concoction.  Of course I have to connect it back to our Driftless Region.  Last summer, I was lucky enough to get my pick of luscious red and black raspberries from some generous friends.  I made some syrup from some of the berries I gathered and have been using it to top various desserts like panna cotta and pancakes.

Picking Locations: Point View & Windy Ridge

My first berry excursion was at Joe & Christy’s Windy Ridge.  The had a huge patch of red raspberries ready to be picked but we had one little problem.  Christy had warned us of a bird that had claimed the patch and would peck at anyone who came close to it.  She adviced us to keep an eye out and to never turn our backs to it.  Keith did a bit of shooing for awhile as I picked then we switched.  At Kevin & Rachael’s Point View farm we had to go into the woods for the wild black raspberries (after hanging out a bit with their adorable herd of sheep).  The black raspberries were much smaller than the red ones plus going into the woods in the summer meant a lot of mosquitoes cooling themselves in the shade.  I think I counted about 7 bites after we filled up our colander.  I’d like to think that a bit of suffering makes things a bit sweeter, on to the drink!  You can make the Chambord liqueur or purchase it.


Raspberry Liqueur (Enough for 8 servings)


  • 8 oz. raspberry syrup (I used a combination of red and black)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch cutting of vanilla bean pod
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1 T. brandy

Heat gently for about 8 minutes.  Make sure to scrape off the vanilla bean before putting it into the mixture.  Add lemon zest, honey, then the brandy.  Strain and set aside to cool.  (Some of the lovely vanilla seeds will remain.)

Homemade Chambord Liqueur

French Martini Cocktail (recipe for 1 serving)


  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. raspberry liqueur
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice

Shake everything with ice and strain into a martini glass.  The pineapple juice makes it a little frothy on top.  Garnish with a little lemon peel (without the white pith).

Happy New Year 





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