Old Time Memory

Jim Pile

This drink makes me think about when I was a child and would stay with my Nana Helen. She had so many wild blackberry bushes. We would spend the summer making muffins and cobblers or just eating them by the handful on the back porch listening to the crickets chirp.

2 ounces Four Roses Bourbon
½ ounce fresh lemon juice 
½ ounce fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters 
Crushed ice 
1½ounces blackberry shrub*
1 basil leaf 
1 lemon twist

Combine the bourbon, lemon, lime and bitters into a shaker, and shake for about five seconds. Then strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Next, pour the shrub over top of the drink. The weight from the shrub will start to pull it to the bottom of the drink, mixing it for you. Then garnish with a basil leaf and a lemon twist.

*Note: For the shrub:

I start this off by weight, so for every pound of fruit you, will need a pound of sugar. For this shrub, I used seven pounds of sugar, about a half a cup of vinegar for every quart of sugar/fruit mixture, the zest from six lemons and about four sprigs of fresh basil.

After I stirred this all together in a large container, I let it sit for a few hours letting the oils from the lemon peels and basil get absorbed by the sugar. Then I added seven pounds of blackberries (crushing them before putting them in the sugar mixture). Once you add the fruit to the sugar, mix it well; otherwise, most of it will just settle to the bottom. Let this sit overnight, and then stir again the next day.

Once the sugar has dissolved, you can strain out all of the seeds and pulp. Lastly, add the vinegar. The shrub should last you for about six months. The purpose of the vinegar is to keep the mixture from fermenting. Another thing that makes shrubs great is that they can be used with soda water to made homemade sodas or mocktails so that everyone can enjoy.

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