Fall is in the air and that means it's time to start perfecting your holiday cocktails recipes. You don't want to wait until the last minute, do you? It's going to take a lot of sipping and sampling, but don't worry, I know you can do it! Here's my first favorite recipe—it's gorgeous, easy to make (except for the simple syrup but in a pinch you could skip that and just muddle some blackberries with some sugar and plop a dab into each glass), and the thyme gives it just a tiny bit of savory to make it a little more complex. And who doesn't LOVE to have a fancy glass in their hand?
BLACKBERRY THYME SPARKLY GIN FIZZ
What you need:
1 small container of blackberries (raspberries work, too)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (½ cup if you like less sweetness)
1 bottle of your favorite dry sparkling wine (I like Freixenet for this recipe), chilled
4 oz of your favorite gin (I think Hendricks is good for this recipe, or the Journeyman Bilberry), chilled
4 sprigs of thyme (you can also use mint or basil for something different)
Crushed ice, optional
4 slices lime (optional)
Raw sugar to rim glass
4 of your favorite champagne flutes
Sieve or colander
What you do, ahead of time:
-Pick out the best 8 blackberries to be used to garnish your drinks and set them aside. Put the rest of the blackberries, water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes, until the berries are soft. Look! You made simple syrup! It should be just a little bit thick, like maple syrup.
-Use a sieve or colander to drain blackberries from the syrup. Allow syrup to cool. You can make the syrup ahead of time and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
What you do, when you are ready to mix up your cocktails:
-Rim your gorgeous champagne flutes with sugar. You can do this by either running a slice of lime along the rim to moisten the top ¼ inch of the glass, or dip in a shallow dish of water. I like the lime because it give it just a hint of...you know, lime. But water works well, too. Or you can use gin or sparkling wine if you want to go over the top. Once the rim is moist, dip the rim of the glass in a shallow dish of sugar to coat the rim. BEAUTIFUL.
-Pour 1 oz gin into each champagne flute. Drop two blackberries into the gin. Top each glass with 1 oz simple syrup, then champagne! And garnish it all with a sprig of thyme (which also can act as a stirrer if it's long enough) or basil or mint, if you prefer.
What you do, if you want it served over ice:
-fill the glass with crushed ice, and then halve the amounts of everything per glass, so you have enough room in the glass but still get the right ratios of ingredients (those champagne flutes are tiny!). So ice first, then ½ oz gin, I still like two berries but you could go down to one, ½ oz simple syrup, fill with champagne, top with thyme. There: icy Blackberry Thyme Gin Fizz.