Friday, August 24, 2012

Blackberry Smash

I go through a Summer cocktail phase every year, and each time it's something different. A few years back it was making homemade Margaritas. After that, I finally put my over-grown garden mint patch {which likes to dominate everything else around it, and is really more like a weed!} to good use and started making mojitos. Then I went through a non-traditional Margarita phase...making them with fruits other than the standard lime. This year - it's the Blackberry Smash.
Whiskey Smash cocktails have been around for ages, but are having a modern day moment in the spotlight with the addition of everything from strawberries and balsamic vinegar to sage and honey. The bourbon or rye whiskey used in the traditional version is also being substituted with vodka, fruity liqueurs, or even a splash of champagne, or sparkling wine. While looking around at all the possible combinations, I picked up a few ideas here and there, pulling what appealed to me most from many different recipes, and made this version.
This cocktail is very adaptable, so if there's something you'd like to try in place of blackberries, try it. Any berry would work well here - you could also add in some lemon slices as well. I opted to top the drink off with some bubbly water because I prefer it carbonated versus straight up booze on ice...that way I can also have more than one!
I've tried making these with and without simple syrup, and while it's certainly optional, I preferred them with a bit of syrup added in. I don't like them super sweet either, but just enough to cut some of the tartness from the limes and berries does the trick.
It's hard to believe that my boys start another school year in just a few short days, or that vacations I anticipated for months with excitement came and went in a breath. Once again, Summer flies by...but before it comes to a complete close, and berries are being swapped out for pumpkins and apples, I highly recommend you go make a batch!
Also try these Summer Beverages - Watermelon Margaritas | Hibiscus Cooler | Fresh Orange Margaritas | Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Blackberry Smash

{printable recipe}
Yields: 2 servings
This version of the old-fashioned Smash cocktail contains blackberries, vodka, and St. Germain {a French liqueur made from Elderberry flowers}. The addition of limes and fresh mint make it a perfect Summer evening cocktail, that tastes somewhat similar to a Mojito, but with a fruity punch.

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
14 fresh blackberries
a splash of simple syrup, or to taste
1/3 cup vodka
1/4 cup St. Germain liqueur
bubbly water {seltzer or soda water}

special equipment: 2 highball-type glasses, and a muddler {you can substitute the back of a wooden spoon}

Add half of the lime wedges, mint leaves, and blackberries to each glass. Use a muddler {or the back of a wooden spoon} to coarsely crush the fruit and mint.

Pour a splash of simple syrup into each glass, and give it a stir. Divide the vodka and St. Germain liqueur between the two glasses, then fill each to the rim with ice. Top each glass off with bubbly water and serve!

Notes: The quantities given for the fruit and mint are rough guidelines. There's no need to actually measure out the mint leaves, or count the limes or berries. After you make a few of these delicious cocktails you'll know what the perfect quantity for you is. If you like more of a citrus punch, add more limes. Not so much? Add less. The simple syrup should be added to taste as well. If the blackberries you use are particularly sweet, you might just skip the sweetener all together. The elderflower liqueur adds sweetness to the drink as well.

Super Simple Syrup

{printable recipe}
Yields: about 1 1/2 cups
Adapted from Bon App├ętit, August 2012
This technique for making simple syrup couldn't be any simpler. While making sugar syrup over the stove top isn't necessarily rocket science, boiling the syrup is just one more additional step, and requires turning on your stove...which is something I try to avoid in August heat. This method yields the same results as boiling, yet it's so much faster and requires no heat!

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

Add the sugar and water to a jar with a screw cap lid. Shake for 1-2 minutes, or until the liquid becomes syrupy and all the sugar has dissolved.

Notes: The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 6 months. Ball mason jars, with plastic screw cap lids work perfectly!


Ollie Tabooger said...

Your pictures are amazing. I must try one of these before summer ends.

Angie's Recipes said...

What a great smash! Love those summery and pretty.

Joanne said...

If there's one thing I don't make's cocktails. I love this sweet tart berryfull flavor combo though!

Courtney J said...

Gorgeous photos! This looks delicious. And so very pretty!

SkinnyMommy said...

Great pics and looks super delish too!

Anonymous said...

Just ran across your blog via the photo you posted on Serious Eats. What a gorgeous blog you have! I'm looking forward to going through your archives. The blackberry smash looks fantastic.

kellypea said...

This is wonderful! I'm stuck in a wine rut that I need to venture out of once in a while. Gorgeous!

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