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.”

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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.

 

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HEITLINGER SMOOTH LEAF PINOT BLANC (2011)—falls short of distracting you from your very worst fears

My Fellow Inebriates,

Last night Fluffy tried to smother me with his fur. This was after my dad tried to smother both of us by falling asleep on the couch with us under him. When he got up, Fluffy stayed lodged on top of me—i.e., he tried to finish me off.

I’d been expecting Fluffy to escalate his sinister behavior so if anything this seemed overdue. Fluffy used to train his mind powers on our townhouse, causing weird creaks and bangs despite the newness of the structure. But the new LBHQ is old, and old houses are supposed to make noises. So when this place started creaking and crashing, I couldn’t be sure it was Fluffy or if the house was just doing its thing.

After all, for all I knew, Fluffy was no longer possessed. The movers could very well have shaken Granny out of him when they put him on the truck, or perhaps she’d remained attached to the townhouse. Maybe her dead spirit had been sleeping when the movers came and she missed the boat/truck.

I wanted to believe these things. But OMG, when this house goes thump, it goes THUMP—how could it be anything other than Fluffy?

I didn’t want to ask my mum again if she thought her dead mother was hanging out in Fluffy; it didn’t seem sensitive. So I asked my dad. I wanted to know if he could detect a paranormal other under his ass while he watched movies on the couch.

“No.”

“Well, how about me under your ass while you watch movies on the couch? How about that, Dad??”

Clearly my dad has no psychic powers. For someone with the dog-hearing he has for stereo systems, his sixth sense is nonexistent. How could anyone watch an entire movie with two bears wedged under his can, one bear of which presumably has the power to leave the shell called Fluffy and travel right up his rectum? Last night my dad was playing with fire. He was lucky Fluffy tried to kill me instead of him (or maybe Fluffy just wasn’t interested in exploring my dad’s bowels).

I realized last night that Fluffy is at least as evil as Martha Stewart—maybe more so, because he’s never made Bing Cherry Mojitos.

I survived Fluffy’s assault only because I can hold my breath really well—some might say seven years and counting. But last night was an eye opener. Not only is my dad oblivious to the evil around him, but his ass sometimes compounds the evil. No question my dad is generally oblivious.

Case in point: Pinot Blanc. This is a pet varietal that Mum and I tend to break out when Dad goes on a business trip. But at Thanksgiving we had it in the house just in case our guests might like it, and my dad got curious about it. Now, we’ve had some kick-ass PBs before, and we were hoping this would be another. HEITLINGER SMOOTH LEAF (2011) retails for $17.99 at our government booze store where it’s been promoted lately as a staff pick and turkey-dinner match. Assuming my mother’s turkey dinner ended up tasting like turkey, it seemed like a good bet.

German PBs can go either sweet or dry, and HEITLINGER lands on the off-dry mark. The nose is orchardy and citrus with hints of a not-very-influential pineapple having been in the room. On the palate the mouthfeel is reasonably weighty with moderate acidity. The wine lingers on the back palate with a slightly confusing play of flavors, summing up simply and rather forgettably.

If you’re partial to food and you like socializing, HEITLINGER won’t distract you from either. This feature shouldn’t be underestimated, as there’s nothing worse than regaling your captive Thanksgiving dinner audience with one of your best stories, only to have someone break into your narrative to exclaim how freaking awesome the wine is. This won’t happen with HEITLINGER. While not reticent with its display of bright yellow fruit, neither is it wearing a Carmen Miranda get-up. It won’t upstage you, your meal, or that story about your prostate exam.

If, on the other hand, you eschew solid foods like yours truly…well, you might want to add some interest to this wine. You could read a book while sipping, or practice doing a sexy dance. You could think about freaky paranormal happenings or compare Martha Stewart’s evilness with that of other household members. And if your house is free of creepy things like Fluffy, she will certainly win.

Oh, Martha, I can’t believe you’re really evil.

It’s not easy making green drinks, especially without thumbs

My Fellow Inebriates,

With three days to go until St. Patrick’s Day, I thought we’d better get cracking on the green drinks. We’ll need ingredients, shakers, ice, glassware, and possibly food items.

And look what my first Google search brought me:

 

OMG! What the hell is that?

“Freshness in a glass,” says Oprah.

Holy shit, have you any idea what’s in this?

  • A head of celery
  • ½ bunch kale
  • 3 yellow crookneck squash
  • 1 handful fresh green beans
  • 2 apples
  • 1 grapefruit

You’re supposed to throw all of this into a JUICER and then drink it. OMG!

I was borderline-offended by this. Where is the alcohol?

I know what celery is: the garnish for a nice Bloody Mary or Bloody Caesar. But what is kale, my fellow inebriates? WTF is crookneck squash? Which beans are green and why would I want to ingest them? Are apples the round ones or the oblong ones? And why on earth would you use a grapefruit for anything but a Greyhound?

Nevertheless, I thought I would choke all this shit back with some Big Bacardi Apple in it. That way I wouldn’t need to use real apples. And if I ever met Oprah I could tell her about it. I remembered there was a rotting grapefruit in the fridge fruit drawer, and whatever the hell kale and crookneck squash are, I figured my mum could go and buy them. But it was raining, she said, looking up from her book, and surely I could find something else to do. She said that, with the kids away, she was going to enjoy three days of NOT preparing whimsical food requests and throwing them away. So there it stood.

I said this wasn’t a whim; it was a PROJECT. Something Oprah believed in and endorsed. Something that would save us all from SCURVY.

She said that sometimes, when bears look like they have scurvy, they actually just need to go in the washing machine.

Argghhh!

The unfortunate Wetherby bear, tumbling around

So here are some proper green drinks:

The Real Mojito

You need a muddler to mash up the mint leaves a bit and release their essence. Then it all gets a bit involved. The best thing is probably to mix up a LOT of mojitos and store them in the fridge, because I can’t imagine cutting limes and muddling/mixing/shaking/pouring while drunk.

Margaritas on the Rocks

Okay, so it’s not that green, but it’s green enough for St. Patrick’s Day, and if you drink a whole blender of it you’ll be green too. Yum!

Apple Martini

This is another one requiring a lot of ingredients, a shaker, ice, and probably opposable thumbs. It looks lovely enough to be worth the effort.

Green Lizard Shot

Now we’re talking. Chartreuse and Bacardi 151, and dead simple to make.

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We’re all set! But will my parents do the right thing and go booze shopping?