Saturday, February 21, 2015

Seasonal eclectic disorder

Ah, another snow day. What to do? Laundry? Check. Clean kitchen? Done. Watch Downton Abbey on Netflix? Waiting on the mailman. Breakfast #2? Eaten. Catching snowflakes on tongue while running errands? Completed. It's been a busy morning. And it's after 5pm somewhere in the world: time for a cocktail!

I do like the frou-frou drinks, especially since trying to limit my gluten intake -- oh, beer, how I miss you! -- and discovering that the mixed drinks in my neighborhood are not what one would call inexpensive. Delicious, yes, and often creative, but not so gentle on the wallet.

Now, I do not purport to be a mixologist, but every so often I hit on a good experiment. This afternoon was one of those times. Inspired by the fresh mint I had leftover from yesterday's chard tabbouleh wrap making class, the blackberries in my produce drawer (see, I'm not a local, seasonal purist after all), and bourbon giving me the eye from the liquor shelf in my freshly cleaned kitchen, I was thinking about some kind of smash. Then I remembered having blackberry smashes over the summer with some teaching colleagues and a debate sparking about what, precisely, a smash was (besides delicious). According to

"Like many cocktails, the question of the smash’s exact definition is a question of semantics. The smash is an open-ended cocktail, freely variable and seasonally flexible. There must be ice, though you may strain it out if you prefer. There should be fruit in season, though you may use it simply as a garnish. There should be a spirit base, though you may use your spirit of choice. Mint is a classic choice, though many other herbs can work. You may want to water your smash down a little or add a spritz of seltzer. At its heart, the smash is a wonderfully forgiving and flexible drink, made for hot days, for using what’s on hand and for smashing it all together over ice for pure sipping bliss."

Sounds fairly straightforward. And open to interpretation....

Sure, it's more of a warm weather drink, but I'm getting a little tired of hot toddies. Should you be so inclined for a taste of summertime, I offer you this latest recipe:

Winter Wonderland Blackberry Smash


  • 1 small handful fresh blackberries (or thawed frozen ones)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 shot bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp pomegranate syrup (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup packed fresh snow (make sure it's white because, you know....)
  • seltzer
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 1 large slice of fresh lemon squeezed in at the end, if your drink is missing a little j'en est c'est quoi. (Thank you, creativeculinary,com, for that good suggestion, saving my drink from mediocrity.)

In a pint jar or sturdy glass, mash blackberries and sugar together with a fork.

Add bourbon and pomegranate syrup (if using -- I only did because I'm trying to use it up so I have a small jar for another culinary project, but it was a nice, tart addition).

While these flavors marinate for a few minutes, scamper outside to scoop up some snow. Add it to your mixture and top off the glass with cold seltzer.

Squeeze in lemon, then stir it all up with a mint sprig (or smash the mint with the blackberries in step 1).

Voila: happy summer-in-winter!


  1. Hi Ibti! Your postcard has arrived in Monterey, but now I live in Canada and so a friend had scanned it and sent to me! So nice to hear from you. I'm glad to see you're still a foodie and blogging beyond your adventure! Ali

  2. Woah, you're still posting here! It must have fallen out of my feed. Time to add it back.


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