Summer is coming and we’re looking to summer flavors to create this Blackberry Sage Smash. To celebrate, let’s create a new smash recipe combining the best berry of summer, the blackberry, with fresh sage leaves – which have already started growing for the season.
If you’re just jumping in here, each week I’m doing a series of 5 quarantine cocktails and this week we’re doing the Smash. I started with the Smash Hit – started Whiskey Smash yesterday, and previously, I’ve done: Quarantine Old Fashioneds ( Breakfast Wakey Wakey, Smoke and Spice, Home School, Taco Truck, and Campari/Bitter Lessons ), Quarantine Manhattans (Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan), Coffee Manhattan, Chocolate Ginger Manhattan, French Quarter Manhattan, and the Caramel Orange Manhattan.), and Quarantine Whiskey Sours (Blackberry Sunset, Whiskey Tiki, Blue Mood Orange, Ya Basic, and Peach Rosemary). Five variations of each, but all with the theme of using what we can find at home, or substituting as necessary to keep our social distance.) For more about the Whiskey Smash and how to make it see here.
For this smash, I originally used oranges and whiskey, however, I have also tested this with limes and tequila and both combinations are mouthwatering. If you’re not a whiskey household, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a make a smash, you can just use rum or tequila or any spirit you’ve got at hand. You might want to tweak the amount of sweetener or sugar you use based on the spirit, but as always, you should be taste testing your cocktail before you serve.
If you don’t have sage, this would work beautifully with regular mint or basil. I’ve got more recipes this week that have basil and wanted some variation so I’m working with sage here.
The wonderful thing about sage is that it’s a savory herb, but it plays well with sweet and sour flavors. It’s also not as fragile as mint so it stands up to a bit more muddling without getting too bitter. If you’ve got a sage bush at home I highly recommend incorporating it into some smashes this week, couple with the sourness of the lemon and the blackberry it’s a winner.
One note about using citrus: the size and tartness of citrus varies wildly. I highly recommend taste testing the cocktail before you add a little ice for your shake. Dilution will sweeten up your cocktail a bit, but if you taste test after a stir or swirl and it seems overly tart, add a little simple syrup to the cocktail before shaking. If you forget to taste test and the cocktail’s a little tart after serving, add a splash of whatever simple you’ve got to sweeten it up in the glass.
Blackberry Sage Smash – Smashed to Pieces
- 5 large blackberries (I used frozen ones I had defrosted)
- 1 slice orange (substitute 2 slices of lime if you’re using tequila as the base)
- 1 oz blackberry simple syrup**
- 5 sage leaves
- ½ oz blackberry liqueur
- 2 oz whiskey (tequila is an excellent substitute as well)
- Garnish: sage sprig and blackberries
- Combine the berries and citrus slices in the bottom of a shaking tin add blackberry syrup and muddle to press the juices from the berries. Add the sage leaves and muddle lightly again. Add the blackberry liqueur and your base spirit. Add ice and shake vigorously, until the shaker is so cold it’s hard to hold. Strain into a rocks glass filled with cracked ice and add a mound of ice to the top. Take a leaf of sage and rub the rim of the glass to get some of the sage aroma/flavor on there. Garnish with a sage sprig and a blackberry or two.
*Blackberry simple syrup: combine 2 cups frozen blackberries, ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and cook until the blackberries are thawed, soft and very juicy. As the blackberries cook down a bit, press on the berries to release the juice. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved and the blackberries have turned a bit purple. Let the syrup cool and strain out the pulp from the blackberries. Store the syrup in the fridge and save the strained out sweetened blackberries to eat on ice cream.