Blackberry Martinis With Clementines and Sage Simple Syrup

It’s been hot up here in Massachusetts this summer! Really, really hot. My Carolina friends mock me … in fact, my favorite Charlotte meteorologist made fun of me on Twitter.

My southern friends have to keep in mind (ahem!) that most of the northeast does not have air conditioning. This might explain the region’s high academic achievement … we have to cool off with our kids at the library for weeks at a time. It might also explain our love of cocktails. What better way to beat the heat than with a fresh berry martini?

Our moms were mixologists before there were mixologists… Hot crabby kids? No will to cook dinner? Baskets of fresh picked berries in the fridge? Recharge with a cool, fruity drink and dinner suddenly gets a lot easier to put together. Put some berries in your drink and hand over the rest to appease the children.

This past week, I was excited to see fresh blackberries and sage in my CSA box from Sweet Georgia P’s. I love getting the summer standards – squash and cukes and tomatoes – but I can’t wait to check out what extras pop up week to week.

When I saw blackberries and sage, I just knew those two ingredients were calling to be a part of a refreshing summer cocktail. To round out these flavors, I reached for a sweet clementine. My kids have been devouring these sweet baby oranges for the past few weeks. I certainly cannot grow clementines here in Massachusetts (or North Carolina) but I will gladly indulge my kids with bags of these delicious fruits stored in my fridge for a cool afternoon snack! And, since these amazing clementines are only here for a few short months, why let the kids have all the fun? Put them in a drink!

Start with a Sage Simple Syrup … 

Sage Simple Syrup

If you have never made a simple syrup before, you are in for a surprise. It is so easy! A simple syrup is the magical ingredient in many, many cocktails. Simple syrup is basically sugar dissolved in water.

Use a ratio of 1:1 – 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar will make a nice, small jar of simple syrup that you can keep for a month or so in your refrigerator. You can add any flavor you want to your simple syrup … sweet? spicy? herbal? Your choice! Because I had beautiful sage begging to be used, I made a sage simple syrup.

Combine the following ingredients in a small saucepan …

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 to 10 sage leaves

Bring heat to medium but don’t let it boil. Stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved into the water. Cover the pan and let it cool for a few hours. When the syrup is room temp, remove the sage leaves, and transfer the liquid to a small jar to be used as needed. For the sage simple syrup, the syrup turned a beautiful shade of green!

Making the Fresh Blackberry Martinis … 

Fresh blackberries and sage

Blackberry martinis need just a few ingredients – blackberries, freshly squeezed clementine juice, vodka, simple syrup, and ice. You can use a berry vodka if you have some on hand – but it might make this cocktail too sweet!

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 4 fresh, large blackberries – mash them up until they make beautiful blackberry juice!

Add a handful or two of ice
3 ounces vodka
1 ounce sage simple syrup
Juice from one clementine

Shake well!

Pour into 2 glasses. Garnish with a slice of clementine. Enjoy!!

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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