Friday, July 1, 2011

Blackberry-Mint Lemonade

With temperatures reaching above 100º this week in Iowa, and a heat index well above that, I thought a refreshing beverage post was in order, especially with the long holiday weekend ahead! I have to credit my aunt Mary with leading me to this particular blog - she sent me a big list of them, which was wonderfully entertaining for my last night shift of clinicals when my baby was actually being good and sleeping most of the night. This recipe takes a little bit of prep time to make the mint syrup and let it cool, but is definitely worth it. The lemonade got rave reviews at the baby shower I co-hosted last weekend, and the leftovers were equally delightful when mixed with vodka for a breezy summertime drink on a very sweltering night.
I apologize that the pictures are a little off from my usual - I forgot my camera when we were finishing off the left-overs, so my boyfriend was nice enough to snap a few shots with his iPhone so there was a least some photographic evidence! If you follow the link to the blog where I originally found this recipe, there are much prettier pictures. I highly recommend using mint leaves, as fresh as you can get them (ahem, farmer's market!). While fresh berries are currently at their cheapest right now, I opted to save a little money and use frozen blackberries for this recipe, which turned out great, since it wasn't as crucial as a fruit salad to have the fresh variety. They add flavor and texture while being mini-ice cubes!
Blackberry Mint Lemonade, adapted from SavorySweetLife 
Serves 8

3 cups water
1 cup sugar
18 mint leaves, torn
2 cups frozen blackberries
3 mint sprigs
4 cups natural store-bought lemonade (definitely spend the extra $1 for the good stuff- taste is important!)
mint sprigs to garnish
2 cups vodka, (or to taste) if desired

1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small pan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Turn off the heat, add the torn mint leaves and stir. Allow the syrup to cool.
*If in a hurry, separate the syrup into 2 or 3 containers to cool faster
3. Add blackberries to a blender or bowl (if using a wand blender - but watch splatters!).  Pour mint syrup through a strainer into the container, discard mint leaves.
4. Pulse on low speed, just enough to break up the berries but not puree them.
5. Combine the berries/mint syrup with lemonade, pour over a pitcher half-full of ice and 3 mint leaves.
6. If desired, add vodka and stir to combine. Add more ice if desired before serving and enjoy!

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