It’s getting to that dreaded part of the summer. The few weeks where autumn starts slowly creeping its chilly evening temperatures and occasional rains into August and suddenly it’s actually September and no one has any clue how that could have happened. Wasn’t I just pining for shorts weather? Have I even been in a swimsuit (no)? Have I eaten enough popsicles to get me through 8 months of Seattle rain (nope)?
Food blogs keep hinting at “end of summer salads” or talking about pumpkin pie and I’m not ready, guys. So here’s a cocktail, with fresh August blackberries. It’s not an even exchange, but who really gets mad about a cocktail? Right.
I’ve been enjoying a lot of urban foraging in my neighborhood: blackberries are at the top of the list for that. Himalayan blackberry bushes (which are actually from Armenia and Iran, to be proper) are invasive and dominate alleyways and the walls next to freeways here. No one is angry when you pick the crap out of them. As opposed to a certain neighbor’s fig tree, which I have eagerly been eyeing…
My boyfriend and I held a huge bedsheet and a friend climbed a plum tree (well, it was more like a sturdy bush) outside our community garden and shook the branches heartily. Plop, plop, plop, and we had two pounds of bursting (literally) with juice fruit.
Italian prunes from two small trees next to my building. Hard to reach, but totally worth it in morning cereal.
And fennel pollen, also an alleyway occurrence. Not recommended, unless you enjoy spending several hours lying on the floor picking out baby aphids (BABY APHIDS!) with tweezers. Now I understand why the stuff is so expensive.
So I think I’ve had a good relationship with summer in Seattle this year. Which leads me back to this cocktail. I’m not really a cocktail girl. Give me a beer, a glass of bubbly, or a sip of tequila, sure, but a cocktail? I usually skip it. So many are far too sweet or syrupy for me, or contain so many different muddled ingredients (get it??!) that I can’t taste the alcohol. And I’ve long outgrown the desire to cover up the taste of alcohol (ahem: college).
This drink is sweet but not syrupy, fizzy (yay!) and complex without being overbearing. Feel free to add as much simple syrup as you please to make it a sweet indulgence (or none, like me) or to try with different brands of Rye, which will all bring something slightly different to the glass.
Isn’t it pretty? The blackberry skins look like freckles. Ah, freckles.
Here’s to summer; and here’s to now. Sup sup.
Blackberry-Ginger Rye Fizz
Gingery, sweet, dark, and whiskey-licious, a relaxing way to enjoy August’s berry bounty.
- 1 shot of good quality Rye whiskey
- 2-4 ice cubes
- 2 shots of mineral water or club soda
- 1 1/2 t. blackberry-ginger coulis (recipe follows)
- 1 t. simple syrup (optional)
- Pour rye over ice in clean glass.
- Add coulis and mineral water and simple syrup (if using) and stir well. Taste and adjust if necessary.
Sweet and spicy, this thick and raw fruit sauce has endless possibilities.
- 1 1/3 c. ripe, washed blackberries
- 1 heaping T. chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/4 t. ground ginger
- pinch salt
- Combine in a food processor or blender. Run for at least a minute to ensure all ginger is finely chopped.
- Strain and reserve for delicious cocktails!