Well, school is going to be starting up soon for the kids and for most of us that means…….home school. Not sure about you but I like to have a cocktail some days while helping my kids with their school work. Or any other time too of course. Since we have been home more, we have gotten a little more creative with putting together recipes with fewer options and blackberries are definitely in our yard. If they are not in your yard, they are usually not too far away. I do not prefer the pre-made huge sugary margarita mix and almost always use fresh fruit to mix up this drink at home. What you usually get by making margaritas the original way is a smaller cocktail that is less sweet but also much more interesting. Tequila is great but Mezcal also works well for this. I like the smoky flavors present in Mezcal mixed with the blackberry. Give it a try. A cocktail shaker is handy but not essential.
1 tbsp salt
about half a dozen fresh mint leaves
about a dozen fresh lavender leaves
4 tbsps honey
3 cups water
2 cups blackberries
blanco or reposado tequila or mezcal
For the mix (best to make a few hours or the day ahead): Add water and blackberries to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to manage a very light simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. Halfway through, macerate the berries a little with a potato masher or fork. Remove from heat when ready and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain the blackberry puree through a mesh screen strainer, pushing with the back of a fork to get all the liquid out. Whisk the honey into the strained juice with the fork. Give it a taste, it may need more honey. Continue to let cool for another 30-60 minutes before storing in fridge to cool completely.
For the salt: Pinch off the mint leaves and pinch off the tops of about a dozen lavender blossoms, which are a few flowers each. Use a heavy chef’s knife to mince the the lavender and mint by really working over the pile until you have very fine fragments. Add to a small bowl and mix the salt in. It helps to use the back of a spoon to grind the salt and herbs together a little bit.
Put it together: Squeeze the limes into a bowl. Wet the rim of the glass with the lime juice and then roll the rim in the margarita salt.
The margaritas can be made using a shaker or just mixed over ice. Mix or shake 2 parts blackberry syrup, 1 part lime juice and 1 part tequila. For an individual cocktail, mix 2 shots blackberry syrup, 1 shot lime juice and 1 shot tequila per glass. Pour into salted margarita glass and garnish.
Garnish: (optional) a berry or two and a mint leaf added at the end are a pretty obvious garnish. Chili pepper can be added to the salt if you want to add a little spice to your drink.