As cocktail enthusiasts it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the gear. Is it the right shaker, do I have the proper muddler, and often times we collect stuff just because. Admittedly, collecting is fun, especially kitsch cocktail items from long ago, but, you know what? You don’t need none of it.
The Lemon Berry Crush is a cocktail designed to be delicious, simple, easy and local. Except for the lemon, of course, but, should ambition compel you, you can grow citrus in Oregon. Not easily, but, if you have a grow light, or a greenhouse, plant lemons and limes. We’ll skip the horticulture for now, and buy a lemon at Freddie’s, but your opportunity for other ingredients is totally local. The best part is, like any cocktail, you can make it in a mason jar.
A shaker is a necessity for every bar or home enthusiast, but no one said that the shaker had to be either, or. A Boston shaker is a workhorse, we recommend them, a cobbler shaker is convenient, we like them, too, but you just went to the party where you were asked to make drinks, and you forgot the tools. No worries. You did remember to pick some mint from the herb garden, and grab some fresh Oregon berries at the farmer’s market. You’ll figure something out.
As for ingredients, Oregon is spoiled for choice when it comes to berries. All Summer, from the first Hood’s in June, right through all the varieties of blackberry, and those rare and special mulberries, there’s a new variety ready to enjoy nearly every week. Blackberries, especially, are so common around Portland that you could probably find a bush and pick some yourself. Leave some for the birds, sure, but take some for yourself and eat a few at breakfast, then put the rest in lemonade.
The Lemon Berry Crush is, simply, lemonade with blackberries and Medoyeff Vodka, and that’s the best part. You could leave the vodka out, and spend a Summer afternoon making blackberry lemonade in mason jars with the kids. Does that make this a family cocktail? For sure, it’s a family beverage with options for the grown ups, so let’s make one.
Grab a mason jar and add some lemon juice, simple syrup and 4 or 5 blackberries. Muddle the berries in the juice and syrup, and you don’t need a fancy tool for this step, either. You can muddle with a spoon, a stick, or anything that can smash the berries. If you don’t have any spoons or the like, use your hands. Smash the berries and drop the mush into the lemon, whatever works, just remember to wash otherwise you’ll get dark blackberry juice on your clothes.
Now add vodka and water, or just water for the family option, and some ice. Use the ice you have. Yes, ice matters in a cocktail, but any ice is better than no ice, and this is an improvised cocktail, so use the ice you have, put the lid on the jar, and shake, just enough to mix. We’re not chilling and diluting here, just mixing. The ice will chill it fast enough, so when it’s just mixed up, remove the lid, top with more ice, and garnish liberally. The result is a very lo-fi and refreshing Summer treat that shouldn’t be hard. It should be a celebration of Oregon’s bounty, and what could be better than berries fresh from the bush with a bottle of local vodka?
In a mason jar, muddle the berries in the lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Add the remaining ingredients, some ice, and put the top on the jar. Shake to mix.
Remove the lid from the jar and top with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel, mint sprig, and some berries.
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