Foraging for black raspberries has become my thing. I have a friend that lets me raid his bushes, but I also find them when I'm out wandering in wooded areas around the Midwest. There's nothing I like better than free berries, especially beautiful dark purple, almost black berries that release a burst of sweet-tartness in your mouth. You will get snagged and stabbed by the thorns of black raspberry bushes, but if you can take it, you'll reap a wonderful delicacy. If you're picking from a bush you have no permission to be picking from then the whole experience is heightened by the danger factor as thoughts of "I really shouldn't be doing this, I could get caught, and just this once" race through your head. Try it at least once in your life.
|The dark purple berry is what a black raspberry looks like when it's ripe.|
Sadly, the Black Raspberry season is coming to a close. In the past I've used them to make jam and pies, but this year I hadn't picked as many. I didn't want my small bounty and the work I'd done to be all for naught, so I decided to create a forager's cocktail. Using the fruits of your labor to make a delicious summer-time drink is the perfect reward. I was inspired by an old book I'd recently picked up called The How and When: an authoritative reference guide to the origin, use and classification of the world's choicest vintages and spirits. It's a 1945 edition written by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco and published by Marco's of Chicago. My recipe is an original creation, but I did get ideas on possible ingredients from looking at all the classic cocktails curated in this book. I used vodka, but gin would also work great. Simply delicious.
Bees & Berries Cocktail
This recipe makes enough for two half-sized serving glasses.
2 cups of black raspberries (or try using other berries available to you)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 spoonfuls of honey
1 cup of sparkling water
1 1/2 jiggers (1.5 oz) of vodka or gin
Ice for the cocktail shaker and serving glass
Crush the berries in a sieve or strainer placed over a bowl or measuring cup. The crushing should produce about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of thick black raspberry juice. Add the lemon juice to the black raspberry juice and mix. Drizzle the spoonfuls of honey on the bottom of your serving glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the berry juice, the sparkling water, and the liquor. Shake well and strain into your serving glass, but only fill half way. Mix the honey in with the liquids and then add ice. Add a slice of lemon to the glass for decoration, or to squeeze in for added tartness.