I love blackberries. In summer, picking them right off the bush and eating them while still warm from the sun, they explode with flavor. You get a hit of the tartness from them, then their blackberry sweetness weighs in and it's a lovely combination on the tongue. It's too early for blackberries, but this time of year, I crave blackberries and peaches and all the things I can only get in July and August.
But I'm smart.
I freeze local blackberries and peaches for just this time of year, and right now, the purple-red hue of the blackberry simple syrup begs to be added into a cocktail. Saturday is the Kentucky Derby, so in keeping with julep week, here's a Blackberry Julep recipe. Traditionally, the garnish is mint for a julep, but I've got fresh Thai basil and lemon verbena in the garden, so I'll try those out instead. You could even go for a rosemary garnish.
2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz blackberry simple syrup
5-7 mint leaves (or basil, or lemon verbena)
Garnish: sprig of mint (or basil or lemon verbena)
In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, blackberry syrup and the mint (or basil or verbena) leaves and muddle just a bit. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into an ice-filled julep cup and garnish with whatever herb you used for muddling. Put the straw right next to the garnish and enjoy a little taste of summer.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.