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With an extra hour of sunlight and the hope of warmer days ahead, I love to create cocktails with a light and refreshing spin. More colorful and fruitier than our winter ales, they make me happy for the upcoming season, when we can shed the puffy jackets and enjoy more of the outdoors. The weekend is when I stir up these cocktails, sit on the back porch and celebrate the annual retirement of the snow shovel.
When making cocktails at home I first make a batch of simple syrup. Simply boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of granulated sugar. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, reduce to a simmer and make your flavoring. (Check out our conversation with Nick Fisher, host of Cocktail Chemistry.)
I love fruity and flowery drinks so for the flavoring I’ll mash up half a cup of berries, usually blackberries or blueberries with a pinch of dried lavender. Add this mixture to the simple syrup and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and strain.
To make my berry cooler, pour some ice into a glass with equal parts vodka and your flavored syrup (about 2 ounces each) and top with sparkling water.
The best part about this spring cooler is you can exchange for the berry of your choice and change up the liquor based on your mood.
Start to finish: 20 minutes Servings: 3 to 4 cocktails
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
6 to 8 ounces vodka
½ cup blackberries
Pinch of dried lavender
4 sprigs of mint
Boil water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Reduce to a simmer.
Mash blackberries with lavender until fully combined. Add blackberry mixture to sugar and mix until incorporated. Strain sugar to remove all solids. Reserve in a mason jar.
In a cup, add ice and vodka. Pour 2 ounces blueberry syrup over vodka. Top with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with mint and a blackberry.
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Image: Anna Gass
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