Blueberries and blackberries are practically jumping off their bushes right now, so take advantage of their abundance and mix up a pitcher of this refreshing summer drink. Start off by making a colorful simple syrup from berries, sugar and water. Also known as bar syrup, simple syrup is used in chilled drinks calling for a dash of sweetness. Regular granulated sugar can be slow to dissolve in a cold liquid, but simple syrup, an easy mixture of sugar and boiling water, blends in smoothly and easily. This recipe uses blueberries and blackberries to add taste to the simple syrup. You can also steep aromatics, such as mint leaves, lemon or lime zest, or vanilla pods, in the simple syrup to add another layer of flavor to your drink. For this Black and Blue Sparkler, you will let the berries cool in the simple syrup for about an hour, pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the solids, then chill it in the fridge. Plan ahead and make this simple syrup the night before you will serve the drinks.
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
1 1/2 cups gin
5 1/3 cups club soda
How to Make It
Combine 2 cups fresh blueberries, 2 cups fresh blackberries, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until berries have softened and begin to break down, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Pour fruit mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding solids. (Yield should equal about 2 1/2 cups.) Stir in 1/2 cup fresh lime juice. Cover and chill until very cold, about 4 hours.
For each serving, pour about 6 tablespoons of the syrup over ice in a 12-ounce glass and stir in 3 tablespoons gin. Top each with about 2/3 cup club soda. Garnish with blueberries, blackberries, and lime wedges.