It’s vacation week! Which means that boozy popsicles are on the menu….
Who wants a pretty cocktail?
Me! I do! I hope your hand is raised, too, because not only is today’s cocktail PRETTY and DELICIOUS, but it helped me through some nerve-wracking television as well. I’ll explain that in a bit.
Are you a lemon fan? I know I’ve said this a bunch of times already, but I SO AM. I love lemons. If it weren’t for my husband’s aversion, I’d have something lemon-flavored for every meal. Sweet, savory, and everything in between. If it has lemon in it, it’s usually good in my book. I can’t even tell you how many arguments over lemon we’ve had in my house. They usually go something like this: “Ew, there’s lemon in this.” “Yeah, duh, because it’s the best flavor in the universe.” “No, no, it isn’t.” “You’re dumb.” The end….
Today calls for a fancy cocktail.
Why? Because it’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway through the week. That deserves a celebration. And this gin fizz is definitely worthy of a celebration. It just makes sense.
Not only is it GORGEOUS (look at that color!), but it’s springy and super tasty. Ever since traveling to New Orleans for the Super Bowl a few years ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the old-timey gin fizz I had there. Somehow, I haven’t managed to attempt it at home until now. It was well worth the wait, but now I’m kicking myself for not doing it ages ago. This cocktail is heavenly.
Instead of doing a straight-up gin fizz, I wanted to infuse some spring flavor into the mix. The berries have been out of this world lately, so that seemed like a natural fit. The blackberry is such an underused berry, in my opinion. Strawberries and blueberries often steal the show, and I love them, but I’m giving the blackberry its time in the spotlight today.
Then, there’s thyme. It is one of my most favorite herbs. Especially in cocktails. It’s so light and lemony and herby…but not so much that your cocktail tastes like…lawn clippings. Know what I mean? It’s perfect for infusing into simple syrup to be used in your favorite boozy treat. It goes with just about every fruity flavor I can think of.
An authentic gin fizz calls for a raw egg white. This version sticks to that tradition. If you’re weird about using raw eggs, then just leave it out. You won’t get the fluffy white cloud of fizz on top (hence the name), but it will still taste great. Promise.
It’s light, slightly sweet, slightly tart, and herbacious in the best way possible. And let’s not forget the gin. I LOVE gin but opt for a lighter, less-piney brand (Hendrick’s is great). If you’re not a gin drinker (and I know a lot of people who despise it), you could swap it for vodka. Of course, it wouldn’t be a gin fizz anymore, but the flavors would work well with vodka too given its neutral taste.
This drink may have to make an appearance at the Mother’s Day brunch I’m hosting in a couple weeks. I mean, really….that COLOR. That FIZZ. It’s just damn elegant. And it sure is pretty.
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 cup fresh blackberries
½ cup gin
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
1 egg white
Splash of half-and-half or heavy cream
3-5 tablespoons of the blackberry-thyme syrup (or to taste)
¼ cup cold seltzer water
Fresh blackberries, for garnish
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for a couple minutes and then remove from heat. Add the thyme and berries and allow to steep until cooled to room temperature. Remove the thyme and then pour the syrup and berries into a blender. Blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Keep cold in an airtight container until ready to use.
Place the gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, half-and-half, and blackberry-thyme syrup into a large shaker (without ice). Shake vigorously for about a minute, then fill the shaker with ice, and continue to shake until everything is icy cold and frothy. Strain the mixture into two glasses. Pour the seltzer water into the shaker to pick up the foam leftover from the shaking. Spoon the resulting fizz on top of the glasses and garnish with fresh berries. Serve immediately.