Summer has now officially approached in Reno. In my Vegas-days, I used to loathe summer and its dry heat that would exceed far past the low hundreds. Now living in Reno, the weather is a gamble, meaning I can be a little more friendly towards the summer months depending on the day. For instance, yesterday the high was 75*F, but tomorrow could be 105*. Luckily, I’m not too far from SF, which pretty much always has a low chill and Tahoe, which may be warm, but at least you can cool off in the melted-snow water. However, I’m a huge fan of BBQs, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and even though I’m working as both a marketing intern and barista, I’m taking this summer as an opportunity to eat plenty of good food, explore new Northern Nevada attractions, and not be in school for the first time in 3 years. Plus, my birthday is in July, so that’s always something I look forward to! I’m also stoked to try out some new BBQ recipes, starting off with a twist on classic summer Lemonade. Hello blackberry-mint limeade!
When it comes to the lemonade-limeade debate, I wholeheartedly lean towards the limeade side. Actually, I’m not really sure there is such a debate, but if there were I would always go Team Limeade. Now that it’s summer, I’ve decided to try out my own variations on limeade (and maybe even lemonade, we’ll see…), and I thought the perfect way to start off the limeade experiment would be to use a berry that’s not as highly recognized as its berry counterparts. I love how shiny and succulent blackberries are, and when they’re mixed into a limeade, it makes this beautiful fuchsia hue that would perfectly complement a BBQ. Also, I added mint, because I was feeling fancy.
Before I share the recipe, I will first start off with a confession, because I’m not perfect, and I’ll readily admit that
all the time in most circumstances, such as this one. For this recipe, I decided to use already bottled limeade. *gasp*, I know. From someone who really goes out of her way to not use prepackaged stuff, this may be slightly shocking. However, I can already find delicious, sweet, fresh-tasting limeade in the juice aisle at my local grocery, and I own no type of juicer whatsoever, so prebottled limeade it was. On the other hand, if you are one who feels so inclined to make their own limeade, I’ve found a recipe from a trusted source with good reviews here.
This limeade is refreshing and easily adaptable if you’d like to try another berry or herb. I prefer my limeade sweeter, so I use more syrup, but if you like yours a little more tart, I’d use less syrup or even muddle some blackberries and mint in the bottom of your glass and just use a tiny bit of syrup. Also, I used 3 mint leaves in my original recipe, and I found that the mint was very strong. I’d recommend using only 2 mint leaves so the blackberry flavors are noticeable. The mint can be very overpowering, but you can always add some straight to your drink if you want more of that flavor later!
Blackberry + Mint Limeade
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup blackberries
- 4 fresh mint leaves (or basil!)
- 2 liters limeade or lemonade
- 12 oz vodka optional
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and blackberries. Bring to a boil, smashing the berries with a wooden spoon. Boil until the syrup thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Strain through a sieve if you don't want blackberry chunks.
- In a pitcher, combine the limeade or lemonade and the blackberry + mint syrup. Start with 1/2 cup of the syrup, and add more to taste. Stir in vodka, if using. Serve over ice with mint and blackberries for garnish.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: The Other Woman by Devendra Banhart