Blackberry Mint Rum Cooler, a refreshing cocktail for any season.
I used to be addicted to those cocktail mixers you can buy in the grocery store. You know, those brightly colored bottles filled with sugar, water and artificial flavorings.
I am not exactly sure when it happened... but one day I wised up.
I realized I already had both sugar and water in my house and I didn't actually have to pay $5.99 for the privilege of them bottling it for me.
Now, I just needed that punch of flavor to add to the sweet syrup.
That blackberry bush growing on our rock wall in the back yard?
Yep, that will do it!
Let's talk about "simple syrups" and "infusing" for a quick sec. These techniques are ridiculously simple, and can be the foundation of creating limitless cocktail flavors. They are essential if you happen to enjoy fancy cocktails served in martini glasses as much as I do.
First: make a "simple syrup". (Psst, that's code for sugar and water dissolved into a syrup. If you are sitting down with a pad and paper I will hit you with the recipe. Ready? It's equal parts sugar and water.
Outrageously complicated I know! You can make one tablespoon or one gallon at a time, it doesn't matter. Simply put equal parts sugar and water into a sauce pan (or you could microwave in a glass bowl) and heat until sugar is dissolved and begins to thicken. Time will depend on how much you're making, but let's say you will need to simmer the mixture on low for between 1-3 minutes. You only want it to thicken up slightly, because as it cools it will continue to thicken more and we don't want to make candy. If you make a large batch (say, one cup or more) you can store it in the fridge until the zombie apocalypse...sugar is good like that...and keep it in a mason jar for future cocktails, ice tea, or iced coffee.
The simple syrup is the sweet backbone of many martini recipes, but we need to add some flavor and that brings us back to infusing. You know those 1-3 minutes we talked about simmering your sugar and water? Well, this is where you throw your "flavor" into the pan with the sugar and water and it will infuse while everything is dissolving. In this recipe I am infusing the sugar syrup with a blackberries but you could use many other herbs, spices, and fruits. Here are some of my other favorite flavors to experiment with:
- Fresh ginger
- Orange peel
- Lemon peel
- Strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries
- A fresh rosemary sprig or basil leaves
Simply toss in one or two peels of citrus, a handful of berries, or a large sprig of fresh herbs for a seriously sophisticated layer of flavor in your next drink.
FYI, This is a recipe for one drink....as in... I happily spend the 10 minutes playing mixologist for my own pleasure alone. I don't wait for for big gatherings or company to treat myself. I have realized that hanging on the back deck on a Friday is special occasion enough for me these days. But if you want a big batch to share-hurrah!-simply double or triple the recipe. Enjoy!
- 3 TBLS sugar
- 1 TBLS water
- ¼ C blackberries
- 5 mint leaves
- 2-3 oz good quality white rum
- lemon lime soda, or seltzer of your choice
- MAKE BLACKBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP
- Combine sugar and water and blackberries into a small sauce pan, heat on your lowest flame or setting for about three minutes. Sugar should be dissolved and blackberries should begin to breakdown and infuse the syrup.
- Remove syrup from heat and allow to cool.
- Add 1 TBLS of the blackberry syrup and the mint leaves into a medium sized rocks glass.
- Using a wooden spoon crush the mint leave into the syrup and continue to "smoosh" them together for about a minute to release the oil from the mint.
- Add ice to the glass and pour in about 2-3 ounces of rum ( I don't measure, I just pour rum into glass as I count to three!)
- Top up glass with either lemon lime soda (for a sweeter drink) or plain seltzer or club soda for a less sweet drink. I like mine less sweet.....then I can drink more than one!