We would make awful bartenders. We learned early on in our relationship that mixology (is that a pretentious word?) is not one of our strengths. The evening begins innocently enough; the seed of an idea for a drink is planted, or we’re influenced by an online recipe. But it usually ends in disaster – our end product never tastes quite right, and we spend a small fortune to buy all of the ingredients we didn’t have before. As a result, our top pantry shelf looks like we’re raging alcoholics because it’s stocked with a dozen bottles of stuff we don’t know what to do with.
Consequently, we stick with what we know. Beer frequently cycles through our kegerator (the kegerator I finally got moved out of our kitchen and into the garage), and we stock up on the Whole Foods brand of Three Wishes wine for $3 each for the nights we channel our inner wine-o. If we do mix a drink, it’s margarita mix with equal parts tequila, or the boy puts together an Old Fashioned. But innovators, we are not.
One of our good friends used to be a bartender, and her talents have graced every holiday gathering in the past year, reminding us that ingenious and innovative new drinks should be left to the greater minds. At Halloween, she whipped up a pumpkin pie-flavored treat with rumchata, pumpkin liqueur, and whipped cream vodka. Ah. Mazing. Christmas came with a cranberry margarita that was as gorgeous as it was delicious, and our Valentine girls night was made all the more girly and sweet with a whipped cream strawberry concoction.
It’s like watching an Oscar-winning movie after spending a summer at theater camp (absolutely I went to theater camp)… You dream of performing on that level, but at some point you come to simply enjoy and appreciate the talent of others. Especially if it’s a super fruity and fun cocktail.
While we may not be in major leagues as far as creating drinks, we will continue to dabble in the amateur level, simply pushing through any inevitable disappointing ventures.
This drink came about after overexcitedly buying too many blackberries on sale. These magnificent, sweet, summery bursts of flavor were sitting on the counter after a few days, staring at me, beckoning me to use them up before the impending mold set in. A ray of light cast down on the case of Topo Chico that was sitting in the corner, and I had what I thought was an original thought… What if I mixed sparkling water with lime, these fresh berries, and maybe some gin? After a quick Google search, I was schooled and told that was NOT an original idea.
But it’s new to our kitchen, and the sun was shining just enough on a weekend afternoon to strengthen the craving for a sweet, fresh, summery drink. And this delivered in full.
The sweet syrup of the blackberries is fresh and tart without being overwhelming, and the fizzy Topo Chico with a hearty helping of lime absolutely hits the spot when the sun is shining relentlessly outside. The gin, in perfect gin-fashion, flies under the radar just enough so you can enjoy merely one glass and have that warm, relaxed, fuzzy feeling deep in your belly.
Even with our lackluster talent for mixed drinks, we savored every last drop of this concoction, embracing it as our official summer drink mascot.
- 2 cups whole blackberries (frozen is fine, just thaw and drain)
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 cups gin
- Topo Chico (or any other sparkling water)
- 1. In a blender, combine the blackberries and sugar. Blend until liquefied. Strain into a container through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any large pulp or seeds that remain.
- 2. At this point, you can combine all ingredients except the Topo Chico in a pitcher and pour over ice, topping with the sparkling water. If you’re making individual drinks, portion out into a shaker, shake well, and pour over ice. Top with Topo Chico, a wedge of lime, and any leftover berries.
- The ratios of gin to lime juice to blackberry puree is up to your individual taste, so add more or less of whichever ingredients you choose.