Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blackberry Simple Syrup

My kids know that I love to bake and cook.  They're used to having cookies, cakes and other goodies just hanging around the house.  So used to it in fact, that they've come to expect there to be something in our cookie jar or on the counter to nibble on.  It's just a given.  And I like it that way.

But a mom's got to have a few surprises.  A trick up her sleeve that she can bring out on a rainy day when the kids get a bit squirrely or on a sunny summer afternoon when everyone's having a bit of fun.  This simple syrup is one of my tricks. 

We don't allow our kids to have sodas very often.  In fact I can probably count on my fingers the number of times my 7 year old son has had a soda.  My little one, even fewer.  So when I called them to the kitchen with these home made blackberry sodas on the counter, there were squeals of delight that could be heard up and down the block.  Truth be told, even I loved the sweet/tart fizzy drink.  Totally different and totally delightful.  But maybe not as delightful as the mojitos and margaritas I made with the rest of the blackberry syrup (shh...don't tell the kids).

Blackberry Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups syrup.
For a printable version, click here.

This is called simple syrup because it's so darn simple. I've given you a few variations that I've tried here, but experiment with it freely.  Beyond the sodas and mixed drinks, I can see this syrup livening up a glass of lemonade to sip on a hot summer day.  And of course, you could substitute the blackberries for raspberries or blueberries.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup blackberries

In a medium sauce pot, stir together the sugar, water and berries.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Let simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the berries softened.  Remove from heat.  Let the mixture sit until cooled.  Strain the syrup into a jar, pressing as much as you can out of the blackberries.

For the blackberry soda:  Pour two tablespoons of syrup into a glass.  Add a few ice cubes.  Top with sparkling water or club soda.  Serve immediately.

For blackberry margaritas:  Follow this fantastic recipe from the Galley Gourmet to make 8 drinks to share with your friends..

1 recipe blackberry syrup
1 cup agave blanco tequila
3/4 cup Cointreau or triple sec
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
handful of blackberries

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender.  Pour into glasses that have been rimmed with a mixture of salt and sugar (use 3/4 tsp coarse salt and 1/2 tbs sugar) and top with a wedge of lime.

For blackberry mojitos:  Follow your favorite recipe, using a few blackberries muddled with the mint and substituting the blackberry syrup for the plain simple syrup.

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