Summer is the season for shrub based cocktails, and we have definitely been in a mood for tart fruity cocktails, and our Brandy and Blackberry Lavender Shrub cocktail certainly fits the bill! We love using shrubs to add a rich tart flavor to cocktails. We also like to use shrubs for their original purpose of preserving fresh fruit for later, especially the wonderful fresh berries that are in season during the spring!
We have made Blackberry shrubs in the past and loved the way the sour of the apple cider vinegar and the tart of the blackberries made a sweet tangy base for our cocktails. For this recipe we were inspired by some beautiful lavender plants growing in our herb garden. Lavender adds a delicious floral note to the blackberry shrub, which adds a real nice complexity to the shrub. We chose to use fresh lavender leaves as the flavor will be gentler than using the dried flower petals and helps avoid one of the major pitfalls of making the dish to much like perfume which can commonly can happen when cooking with lavender.
Shrubs can’t be rushed, and letting the the flavors meld together over time can make the whole mixture richer and more nuanced. We allowed our shrub to meld for around 2 days before checking the flavors. Checking the flavors at this point allows you to adjust the flavors to be a bit more to your liking by adjusting the sugar or vinegar.
For the Brandy and Blackberry Lavender Shrub, we used a great apple brandy as our base spirit which really worked with the apple cider base of the shrub. A splash of dry vermouth brings additional herbal qualities and adds a hint of sweetness that helps bring the sour bite of the shrub under control. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a brightness and a nice lemon perfume that pulls a little more of the lavender flavor out and pairs well with the blackberry flavors. This drink was tart and fruity and perfect for sipping on a warm summer day by the pool!
- 4 oz blackberry lavender shrub (see below for recipe)
- 2 oz apple brandy
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 dry vermouth
- 1/4 oz lemon juice
- 1 cup blackberries cut in half
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lavender leaves
- Add ingredients to a shaker.
- Fill shaker with ice.
- Shake until chilled,
- Strain into cocktail coupe.
- In a container that can be tightly sealed, add berries, sugar, and lavender leaves.
- Mash until berries are fully broken down and sugar is a thick paste.
- Add water and apple cider vinegar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Seal container and place in fridge for 2 days.
- Taste after 2 days to see if it is to your liking and adjust vinegar or sugar to tailor the flavor to your liking.
- Using a mesh strainer, strain berries and lavender leaves and discard berries and leaves, retaining liquid.
- Pour retained liquid into a clean sealed container.
- Store in fridge up to 3 weeks.