Time is a social construct, right? So how is it that it seems like there just isn’t enough time in the summertime for all the things we had planned to do. But yet there is more daylight hours in a day for activities? Hmm… Also, how is it mid-August already! Where has the summer gone? And where IS everyone? And can I come? I’ve noticed this year more than before how dead Toronto is during the summer months. Local haunts and watering holes have on average 2 people at any given time on weekends (may be exaggerating). It’s very strange…
One thing I’m sure about (in life) is that this cocktail is basically summer in a glass. Despite the lack of bodies in the city, summer does bring an abundance of fruits and herbs. Sometimes more than what we know what to do with. Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, are the solution to the spur of the moment, over-purchase of berries at the farmer’s market. Shrubs are a retro syrup that made a comeback in popularity a few years back. The concept is that they replace the citrus juice (lemon or lime) as the sour component in a cocktail. Shrubs are fun to make, have endless flavor possibilities and are really refreshing in drinks (with or without alcohol). I highly recommend you give it a go because there is only so much time in a lifetime, am I right?? ~*~carpe diem~*~ luv n peace 2 tout le monde ~*~
1 pack (~340 g) blackberries
1 2/3 cup white sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I added 1 cup only)
Combine the sugar and blackberries in a medium sized bowl. Using a wooden spatula, gently mash the berries together with the sugar until the juices release but the berries are still mostly intact. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and secure with an elastic. Let sit the mixture sit on the counter for 2 days, stirring once a day to help the sugar dissolve.
After two days is up, stir in the apple cider vinegar a bit at a time, tasting the syrup as you go. Once you’ve hit your desired tart to sweet ratio (it should be tart but not overpowering), push the mixture through a mesh strainer into a clean jar or bottle. Discard the berry pulp. Store the syrup in fridge for up to 3 weeks. The shrub will mellow out over time.
Basil Blackberry Shrub Cocktail
For one cocktail
2 large basil leaves
2 ounces blackberry shrub syrup
2 ounces gin or vodka
Place the basil leaves in the palm of one hand and using the back of your other hand, smack the leaves a couple times to release the oils*. Add basil to the bottom of a collins glass. Fill the glass with ice, then add syrup and booze. Top the rest of the glass with soda water. Give it a good stir and drink up!
*If you are more civilized, you may gently muddle the leaves at the bottom of the glass