I’m making an attempt to be more outgoing during the week. It’s really easy to just come home and drop onto the couch after a long day of work, but I moved to New York for a reason and I don’t want to waste my time doing a whole lot of nothing. This most certainly means that I am tired more often than not. I’m usually running on around five hours of sleep, maybe six, but rarely seven, on any given day, but I’m 24 years old, so I’ll sleep when I’m dead, right? I know some people out here who are much older than me and still kicking it every night, so I have absolutely no excuse other than my penchant for acting like an old fogey and wanting to stay in on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket, eating popcorn and watching television. Which is completely fine and something I do fairly regularly. Monday night, I pushed myself to go out, make new friends, and afterward, stayed out just a touch longer than I should have, but hot dogs in pretzel buns and tall, cold beers were calling my name. This bar near us called Daddy’s sells hot dogs from The Meat Hook wrapped in excellent pretzel buns, smothered in mustard and pickles. The snap back from the casing of that hot dog is literally the stuff that dreams are made of. Whenever I don’t know what bar to go to now that I know these hot dogs exist, Daddy’s is surely my answer. I think that they sell beef jerky, too, which as I explained in my last post, is something that I adore and have been known to eat for breakfast as the salt and protein make it an unbelievable hangover cure. I guess I can try to save some room in my stomach next time I go to try the jerky and still enjoy my favorite hot dog.
I worked out, so I deserve a treat! Who in the world hasn’t uttered or at least thought that very same thing? Well, here’s your treat, people: a Blackberry Bramble. I had one recently when we were out with Kramer’s dad a few weeks ago, and it was so good that I immediately made one at home the next day. The berries are simmering in plenty of sugar, a cinnamon stick, and cloves, which make for a richer flavor with a warming aroma that, while this is a cold drinks, makes it more appropriate for this winter to spring transition that we’re all experiencing this time of year. All you need are berries, aromatics, lemon juice, gin, and club soda. You could get really classy and top this off with prosecco instead of club soda, which, being the fancy girl that I am, I would have absolutely done had I thought ahead, but I didn’t, so I used club soda here. I love a drink that you can eat, and this is definitely that drink, just make sure you fish the cloves out because there is nothing more horrible that I can imagine than chomping down on a whole clove. I had more than a few of these the day that I made them because there’s nothing like a pretty, fresh drink on a cold, gray day. The berries are great for other uses, too: pancakes, ice cream, yogurt…the list goes on. They’ll keep well in your fridge for a week, so go ahead and make yourself a bramble! You deserve it.
This is me pretending to be Emperor Palpatine after a few brambles.
Just cook your berries in sugar, make a syrup, and you’re done!
- 2 cups blackberries/blueberries/raspberries
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 6 ounces gin
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 ounces simple syrup (from the berries or regular)
- club soda, to top it all off (or real get fancy and use prosecco)
- Place your berries in a small pot and add in the sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 8 minutes, until the berries have softened (but not disintegrated) and the sugar has dissolved. You will have extra if you’re not making drinks for a crowd, so these will keep well in their syrup for up to a week.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine your gin, lemon juice, and syrup. You can use some of the syrup from the berries, if you want a really fruity drink, or you can just use regular simple syrup. To make plain simple syrup, just boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water until the sugar dissolves. Easy!
- Add ice to the top and shake well, for at least 10 seconds. Use a strainer (so you don’t have any lemon pulp) to pour the cocktail into two ice filled glasses. Drop a spoonful or two of berries into the drink, drop with club soda, and add a straw. Allow your guests to stir the drink themselves; the pink looks really pretty when you serve it, almost ombre, and then it magically combines in your guests’ hands!