Saturday, August 20, 2011
Blackberry Raindrop- A Northwest Martini
"MMmmmm" he said, "it tastes like blackberry cobbler..." .
His eyes were closed, his face happy, which was needed after an hour and half commute on Friday night. We meant to have only one... but felt the need to try some variations too.
The things we do for you....
It all started with a drink menu in a bar which I looked at right as we were leaving. I love looking at the 'speciality' drinks for new combinations and inspiration. This place had a martini called a "Huckleberry Raindrop". While I thought that was clever, especially the name, I wasn't keen on going out and buying a special Huckleberry liquor in order to make it home.
I started thinking about all the crazy blackberry bushes trying to take over my own backyard, why not make something with those? If you are from the Northwest, nothing says home more than blackberries and rain! There is only a small window of time in August where you actually like blackberries and the rest of the year, you are consumed with eradicating the bushes/vines from your life. Machetes, Herbicides, Goats.... whatever it takes to make them stop taking over your life and sneaking up on you when your back is turned. The least those things can do is to make you happy with some succulent fruit once a year, so seize the moment. If you don't live somewhere where you can pick your own blackberries, by all means, buy them... do not, I repeat, ever plant them.
I wanted to make a Blackberry infused vodka, but that takes too much time, about 8 weeks. 8 weeks? Are you crazy? I want to enjoy this now, in August, when I can see the blackberries on the vine and feel the sun on my face. So it had to be an intense blackberry simple syrup. This is an easy way to get the flavor, color, tang and sweetening in one fell swoop. It's so easy, you can make this afternoon and have it ready by cocktail time.
One last thing... this syrup would be incredible in Iced Tea too!
1 1/2 jigger of vodka
1 jigger blackberry simple syrup
1-2 Tbsp of lime, or lemon juice
Pour over ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, give some good shakes and strain the mixture into your glass. Garnish with some fresh blackberries.
Makes enough syrup for about 8-10 drinks.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups blackberries
1 lemon, juice and zest
Wash the berries.
In a small sauce pan, heat the water, sugar, blackberries, lemon juice and lemon peel to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the berries break down and the mixture starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and discard the berry puree and the lemon peel. Pour into a bottle and keep in the fridge.
-Grapefruit vodka instead of regular, does change the flavor, but also good.
-A little float of soda water would add some sparkle and lighten the drink up too.
-"Whipped" Cream vodka (which is so good!) would also be good, but a much sweeter drink. Maybe just a tiny float of the whipped vodka on the top before serving.
-Vodka Tonic on ice with a small amount of blackberry syrup at the bottom would be refreshing on a hot day.