It is screaming hot outside and, for those of us who don't have the option of bobbing around in a pool or ocean all day (so....all of us, probably), we need to figure out as many ways as possible to keep our cool. The good news is that with summer heat comes sweet, juicy summer berries. The blackberry bush in my tiny backyard is happy as a clam and loaded with fruit. Let's mix those berries up with alcohol and ice and cool off!
Honey Blackberry Shrub Punch
This vinegar-spiked beverage is oddly and surprisingly refreshing. Shrub syrups are often made by heating the fruit with sugar and letting it macerate with vinegar. We opted for a cold version for this recipe in order to leave the fruit with some integrity. Honey replaces the usual sugar here, and is especially lovely with bourbon. The longer your shrub macerates, the more the flavors will meld together, and making it ahead means there's no sweat when it's cocktail hour.
Watermelon Blackberry Sangria
My grandmother sprinkles a little bit of salt on her ice-cold watermelon. When I was a kid, this disturbed me in ways I can not explain. Now, I get it. Sweet and salty are best friends and in the case of watermelon, the combo can be extra thirst quenching. Manzanilla sherry has a slight salinity to it, and its nutty flavor is delicious with blackberries. Mixed with tart lime and seltzer, it's easy to lose track of how many cups of this pale beauty you've consumed.
This one's like a Kir Royale with some sass (and ice)! Blackberries and créme de cassis are great together, since currants are sweet, tart, and jammy like blackberries. I added a brisk ginger beer to spice up the cocktail, paired with fresh lemon to keep things bright.
About the Author: Heather Meldrom is a former Senior Food Editor at Martha Stewart. Currently she works as a freelance food stylist, writer, and recipe developer based in NYC. She can be found at heathermeldrom.com and sweetandsavored.com.