Welcome to the first day of Drink Week! The next five days will feature fruit and herbal syrups, boozy infusions and shrubs that will have you planning parties to feature your new specialty cocktails and mocktails (and because I’m not much of a drinker, you’ll definitely see as many virgin options as you do the spiked ones). As part of Drink Week, I’m giving away a Sodastream seltzer maker (click here to enter the giveaway).
You didn’t think you’d seen the last of those black raspberries, did you? I had a whole flat of those gorgeous little berries to use, so they may well turn up even a third time (if all things go as planned).
Let me share a secret about myself with you. I am a sparkling water lover. Rarely does a day go by (particularly during the summer months) when I don’t pour myself a glass of fizzy water. Often I drink it plain, or with a squirt of lemon juice (one of these dehydrated lemon slices works too). Sometimes, I muddle a little bit of runny jam into my glass (it’s a great way to use up something with a less-than-perfect set). And occasionally, I make something designed just for stirring with seltzer.
For this syrup, I measured out 3 cups of black raspberries and used the Vitamix to pulverize them into a delicious goo (wear an apron and keep it away from light-colored counter tops, it stains upon contact). If your kitchen happens to be lacking a fancy blender, you could also pulse them in a food processor or even just go to town with a potato masher.
I scraped the puree into a saucepan and stirred in 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. I brought it to a quick simmer and let it cook for 5-6 minutes. Because the starting puree was so thick, it didn’t need much time on the stove to come together.
Using a very fine mesh sieve, I separated the syrup from their seeds. Don’t be afraid to really work the seedy bits and press firmly to remove the last bits of liquid. You’re not extracting liquid for jelly so there’s no need to be delicate or attempt to prevent cloudiness. At this point, taste your syrup. If it isn’t sweet enough, you can add a bit more sugar and return it to the saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. If it is too sweet, stir in a little lemon juice to balance the flavors.
Because I hate waste, after the syrup was decanted into it’s own jar, I plopped the leftover seeds in their own vessel and topped it with 2 cups distilled white vinegar. After it spends a couple weeks imparting all that lovely black raspberry flavor into the vinegar, I’ll strain the seeds out and finally throw them away.
After that, it’s just a matter of spooning a bit of the syrup into a tall glass and topping it off with a long pour of sparkling water. A couple of ice cubes and you have a refreshing summer drink. For the grown-ups in the crowd, you could add a bit of vodka or a fruity liqueur.
Because this recipe makes a cup and a half of syrup, I popped it into the fridge and skipped any processing step. However, should you be facing a massive raspberry harvest (this technique works just as well with red raspberries or even blackberries), you could make up a far larger batch and process it in pints or half pints in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Just remember that sugar is a preservative, so if you cut the sugar content drastically, the syrup will not have as long a shelf life.
Now, make yourself some black raspberry syrup and head over to enter the Sodastream giveaway!