Blackberries are over? Damn you, global warming!

Looks like we’re not the only freegans in Langley. Mum and Miss V went blackberry picking the other day and found the bushes stripped of fruit. What remained was shriveled or festooned with spider webs, and they came home with only half a bucket for their troubles.

“What the hell are we going to make margaritas with?” I asked Miss V, who promptly put me in a dress and forced me to attend a “bear wedding.”

PICT1885

Blackberry season started early this year thanks to a hot, dry summer and/or climate change. My mum only discovered the berries were ready by accident when she emerged from the bank three weeks ago and collected a bucket’s worth in the parking lot within 15 minutes. It was the first time we’d ever received something free or even worthwhile from the bank, but instead of making blender drinks she made jam, crumble, and cookies. When I asked about daiquiris, she said “Next time, LB.” Can you believe it? Complacently then, she waited two weeks to go back for more berries. And they were gone.

If you had more sense than my mother and picked while the picking was good, here are your fabulous prizes.

Blackberry Bellini

Ingredients: - 5 oz Procescco - 2 oz blackberry puree - 1 oz creme du mure Garnish: whole blackberry and mint leaf Pour in the blackberry puree and creme du mure into a champagne flute. Top of with processco. Finish with a mint leaf and whole blackberry garnish. (Cocktail created by Brian McGrory)

Ingredients:
– 5 oz Procescco
– 2 oz blackberry puree
– 1 oz creme du mure
Garnish: whole blackberry and mint leaf 

Pour in the blackberry puree and creme du mure into a champagne flute. Top of with processco. Finish with a mint leaf and whole blackberry garnish. (Cocktail created by Brian McGrory)

Blackberry Mojito

Ingredients: 12 large blackberries 12 mint leaves 4 teaspoons sugar 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice 3 ounces light rum (you can substitute vodka if you like) Ice Club soda Lime wedge, mint, and blackberries for garnish Chill two glasses. Put the mint and the berries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to muddle (bruise) the mint and crush the berries. Add rum, lemon and lime juice. Fill with ice. Shake until well chilled. Put mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. Add ice. Strain the cocktail over the ice. Top with club soda for a little sparkle.

Ingredients:
12 large blackberries
12 mint leaves
4 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 ounces light rum (you can substitute vodka if you like)
Ice
Club soda
Lime wedge, mint, and blackberries for garnishChill two glasses. Put the mint and the berries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to muddle (bruise) the mint and crush the berries. Add rum, lemon and lime juice. Fill with ice. Shake until well chilled. Put mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. Add ice. Strain the cocktail over the ice. Top with club soda for a little sparkle.

Blackberry Fruittini

Ingredients: • 1 part ABSOLUT Kurant • 1 dash Dry Vermouth • 1 dash Sugar Syrup

Ingredients:
• 1 part ABSOLUT Kurant
• 1 dash Dry Vermouth
• 1 dash Sugar Syrup

 

And if, like my mother, you weren’t organized or didn’t bother to get blackberries so your little bear friend could enjoy blackberry cocktails, your fabulous prize is that you get to go out and buy your little bear friend a bottle of vodka and watch him pound it.

 

Why August is the best month to be a “freegan”

No doubt about it, August is the best month to practice freeganism. Sure, any time of year you can help yourself to the odd morsel of unlucky roadside raccoon (extra points if you bag-and-barbecue the one that clawed its way through our neighbor’s swimming pool). But even better than already-dead varmints are yummy blackberries.

Not even hard-drinking bears who eschew solid food can resist blackberries. The way they burst forth every August with their ravishing aroma…free for the taking for anyone willing to piss off a few spiders—ahhhhhh!

My cheap-ass mother swears things taste better when they’re free, and she might be right about blackberries, if not raccoons.

The berries are calling out to be taken. Today the kids put up with a whole 15 minutes of picking before crying boredom, which gave us (as it happened) half a liquor-store shopping bag of the wondrous little fruits. What shall we do with them, my fellow inebriates?

Citrus Blackberry Collins

We need citrus vodka and blackberry liqueur for this concoction. Odds my parents will do it? 4,143:1 against

Blackberry Crush

Once again, this calls for vodka. Odds? 853:1 against

Blackberry Cocktail

Photo: Jim Franco
Styling: Scott Martin

This calls for gin, which we have, although my mum is causing it to disappear. Even if there is any left by the time we get mixing, the recipe’s weirder ingredients (cucumber with mint) may freak my unadventurous parents out. Odds? 548:1 against

Blackberry Caipirinha

A long time ago a liquor representative emailed a tantalizing invitation to taste Cachaca, one of this recipe’s main ingredients. By all means, send it, I said, but alas, it’s not simple to send booze to Canada, and the hooch never materialized. Odds? Sigh.

◊ ◊ ◊

Screw it. My mum can make muffins or whatever the hell she wants to throw those blackberries into, and I’ll have a gin & tonic (before she takes it all).