Summer cocktails: Blackberry fizz
I admit it. The number of recent cocktail posts might be a little over the top.
But let’s be honest – that’s kind of what summer is all about, right? Everything is fresh and I approach the kitchen with a sense of relaxation that finds me throwing all kinds of things into a cocktail shaker with a bit of ice, sitting in the backyard in my favorite lawn chair with only the beginning glimmer of an idea of what to make for dinner.
And here’s where I have to talk about berries and Oregon again.
Earlier this week we found blackberries at the store with the same deal as those blueberries, which meant of course that we bought the required four containers. But it kills me these days to pay anything at all for blackberries when I remember that Portland house we lived in the summer after I graduated from college, with the sprawling, monstrous blackberry bush down the street. Or when I think about the sheer metric ton of blackberries that grow down the street from Brett’s parents’ house in Eugene, or Les and Doug’s house in Manzanita. Many times I’ve ambled down the road to pick a few (or many more) still warm from the sun and let them melt in my mouth like a spoonful of jam.
And to have them now – even to have paid for them, as much as it pains me to do it – is quite a treat. And as I walked home from work earlier this week I concocted a dream of a drink in my head – syrupy blackberries, fresh garden mint, sweet homemade lemonade, and the refreshing bite of extra bubbly sparkling water (thanks again, Sodastream).
Well – and some gin or vodka, of course. Either would work well here, because the blackberries and all the rest are really the star of the show.
I was shocked by the deep, dark purple liquid that came out of the shaker as I poured it into the glass, but the flavor was fresh, bright, and perfectly summery. The bits of fruit pulp together with the sparkling water created a bit of a blackberry foam on top, similarly satisfying as the foam on top of a root beer float (you could strain the berries before putting the juice in the shaker if you don’t want this). I threw a few whole blackberries in the glass at the end, and since I couldn’t see them through the dark drink they were a pleasant surprise later on (snack and cocktail at the same time!).
- 10-12 small-medium mint leaves, plus mint sprigs for garnish
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 10 blackberries
- 1 1/2 oz. vodka or gin
- 2 oz. lemonade
- 4 oz. soda water
– Muddle mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
– Add 8 blackberries to the shaker and mash with the end of the muddler or the back of a spoon. (You could also mash these in a bowl and pour the juice and pulp into the shaker, straining ahead of time if desired.)
– Fill the shaker halfway with ice, add the alcohol and lemonade. Cover and shake vigorously.
– Strain the mixture from the shaker into a glass – you may need to clean out the strainer a few times because of the blackberry pulp.
– Add the soda water, stir gently. Plop in the remaining two blackberries and top with the sprigs of mint. Enjoy!