When I was younger, every December my family would make a trip to my grandmother’s house in Swaziland. There was a ginormous mulberry tree in front of her house. My cousin, the other neighbourhood kids and I would climb the tree to pick the blackest, juiciest and sweetest berries. That is my first memory of mulberries. Racing up a tree to get my hands on as many as I could. Later on, when I was in primary school, whenever it was silkworm season, the mulberry tree’s leaves were what I was after. My mother of course wouldn’t let me keep silkworms so I snuck them into the house and kept them under my bed. I would feed them a steady diet of mulberry leaves and lettuce, while waiting for the day when I would finally find silk cocoons instead of chubby worms.
It only follows that when I think of mulberries or mulberry trees, I think of my childhood. I think of adventures and exploring. I think of sunny afternoons, eating the spoils of my climbing expeditions, and silk cocoons. As we get ready for summer, I have vowed to try and recapture the childlike awe and curiosity of my youth. What better way to do that than to get creative with something that brings back only happy memories of that time with an added perk that comes with being an adult: Gin.
When I conceptualised this recipe, I was under the impression the mulberries and blackberries were the same thing. I have since discovered that this is not the case, but they look similar enough, so I won’t tell if you don’t 😉
I don’t make cocktails very often, so I had to improvise with the apparatus. You don’t need a cocktail shaker to make a fancy drink. Just a little creativity.
This recipe makes 2-4 glasses of Blackberry fizz depending on the size of the glass of course.
1 cup of blackberries + extra to garnish with
3-4 basil leaves roughly chopped + extra to garnish with
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
1 bottle of tonic water
How to make it:
In wide glass, crush the blackberries and basil. I used my pestle. You really want to bruise the ingredients well to release the flavours. Then add 1½ cups of sparking water. Stir and set aside.
Place a few ice blocks in the glass you intend to serve the drink in. Next strain the blackberry mixture in until the glass is about 1/3 full. Add your gin (I add a single shot but you might like yours a little stronger) and top the rest of the class off with tonic water. Stir and garnish with a few blackberries and a basil leaf.
Note: If a cheeky beverage is not your thing, you can make this a non-alcoholic blackberry fizz instead. Just swap out the gin and tonic for lemonade.