The last two weeks at our CSA we got to PYO (Pick Your Own) blackberries. After we ate enough to give us belly aches, we put them aside for a couple of days. Unfortunately, when I went to grab a handful, some were too soft and squishy for snacking. I wasn't up for making jam or baking so into this week's cocktail they went.
As I was muddling a few, I said to my kids, "Look how lucky we are to have all of this food from our garden and the farm." My son piped up and said, "And from the internet!" We had just placed our first online grocery order, and like magic, a polite man in uniform with neatly packed boxes rang our bell and delivered groceries. It was equally as nostalgic (conjuring images of a milk man or a butcher delivery) as it was modern mommy. That seems to be what we strive for here in our home — paying homage to the good ol' days, and keeping it fresh and modern at the same time.
With that mantra in mind, I mixed up this week's 10-minute happy hour: a smash infused with ripe blackberries hand-picked at the farm and spiced with both fresh and crystallized ginger. The flavors are fabulous together. As I wrote this, I realized that if you don't have time to make the ginger simple syrup, you could simply use a ginger beer in its place. You'll get that sweet gingery flavor, and your sip will be slightly spritzy.
Somehow summer seems to have slipped through my fingers. I plan on sipping my Ginger Blackberry Smash, pondering how it's possible that we're halfway through August already, and planning how to make the most of these last days of summer. Cheers!
Ginger Blackberry Smash
Lime wedges for garnish, optional
1 tablespoon crystalllized ginger sugar (see Recipe Note)
4-5 fresh ripe blackberries
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce ginger simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
Crystalized ginger for garnish
Moisten the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass lightly into the crystallized ginger sugar to coat the rim. In the bottom of the glass, lightly muddle the fresh blackberries, then add ice.
In a shaker filled with ice, combine the tequila, simple syrup, and fresh lime juice and shake until chilly. Strain the shaker into the glass over the blackberries and ice, and garnish with a sliver of crystallized ginger and a lime wedge.
Ginger Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 cup, enough for 8 to 10 drinks
Peel and slice a 4-inch piece of ginger. Combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and the ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Let the ginger steep for about 20 minutes or longer if you want your cocktail spicier, then strain out the ginger and cool syrup completely. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for about two weeks.
• I use the crystallized ginger sugar from the bottom of the jar or package to rim the glasses. This sugar is perfectly infused with ginger! If you don't have enough to rim the glass, you can also process a few tablespoons of sugar with a piece of ginger in a spice grinder to make ginger sugar.
(Images: Maureen Petrosky)