Add the blackberry simple syrup and mint leaves to a mixing glass and muddle.
Add the gin and lemon juice, then shake and strain into a chilled 10-oz Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with prosecco, and garnish with a mint leaf and blackberries.
Blackberry simple syrup
6 oz fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
Place blackberries and 1/2 cup each of water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 25 minutes, cool, then run through a fine mesh strainer such as a chinois.
To my readers, gallant, cherished and few, I apologize for my delay in delivering this week’s creation. It seems every year around this time I decide to make a cocktail that, although delicious in my mind, flounders in the glass. It typically takes me about 3 iterations to come up with the balance of flavors I’m looking for, but this week’s cocktail
(like my Provençal Collins from last summer) has taken endless tinkering.
It all starts with a scrumptious pint of blackberries and the thought to make a smash with basil, gin, and a friend’s homemade meyer limoncello. I macerate the blackberries and basil, add the crushed ice, then add the gin and limoncello and shake. The results are a disaster. Somehow neither the blackberries nor basil stand out, it tastes medicinal, and the blackberry pieces keep clogging up my straw. Back to the drawing board.
Take two involves making a blackberry and basil simple syrup on the stovetop. I bring 1/2 cup each of blackberries and basil to a boil then cut off the heat, let it cool, and strain. This works better, but the basil flavor is getting lost, and I have to use too much of the sweet syrup in order to taste the blackberries, so I decide to cut back on the sugar. I also decide to abandon the limoncello since I’m running out and don’t want to waste it on experimentation.
For take 3, I blend 1/2 cup blackberries and 1/2 cup basil with 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons of sugar, then let it sit overnight to infuse. This is a bad idea. Do not do it. The basil is way too intense.
I’m beginning to feel resentful towards blackberries and downright spiteful towards basil. Also, my issue of bon appetit has just arrived and includes the recipe for a Blackberry Collins. I gather from their recipe that I didn’t cook the blackberries in my first simple syrup long enough. I try again, cutting back on the amount of sugar used in bon appetit‘s recipe and abandoning the basil (in your face, basil). I put 6 ounces of blackberries and 1/2 cup each of water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, I reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cook for 25 minutes, cool, then run through a chinois. MUCH better.
From there, I decide to riff on a mojito, which according to Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, first appeared in a 1927 recipe book as a Rum Mojo. I place 8 mint leaves and one ounce of blackberry syrup into a mixing glass and muddle, then pour in two ounces of Bombay Sapphire gin and 3/4 ounce lemon juice and shake. I fill a 10-ounce Collins glass with ice, strain the mixture into it, top with two ounces of Prosecco and garnish with blackberries and mint.
If you’ve read this far, you probably need a drink. I sure do. Try a Blackberry Mojo. It’s worth the effort.