Last week, when I was out picking honeysuckle, I stumbled upon a section of the trail that was full of berries. Ankle deep in brush and hands full of honeysuckle, I stopped to stare at the small, deep purple berries. At first, I thought “look, blackberries!” This year has been so warm, it seemed logical that blackberries could have arrived. But I wasn’t sure and didn’t much feel like dying from a poisonous berry, so I tweeted a picture of it, hoping the internet would come through.
As always, they did. Within a few minutes someone had replied that they definitely weren’t blackberries, they were mulberries. Which are not only totally harmless, they’re delicious. Needless to say, I stuffed my bag full of them.
As I walked home, appreciating the burst of honeysuckle scent erupting from my bag every few feet and carefully trying not to squish the berries, I thought about how I could combine the two flavors in a recipe. My mind bounced from jam to sorbet, and finally settled on a cocktail. A light, summery, refreshing yet sweet, incredibly local cocktail. One that I dubbed the “Jones Falls Jammer.”
The Jones Falls Jammer, also known as a Honeysuckle & Mulberry Spritzer for those of you with no connection to the Jones Falls River, is honeysuckle simple syrup, muddled mulberries, vodka, club soda, and a squeeze of lemon. It is everything you want in a summer cocktail, perfect for drinking on the porch, a color almost too good to be true.
Also, this week we revealed the tshirt design for the B’Eat More Pie Fest shirts. They’re great, designed by my good friend Brit, and available for pre-order. Go forth and order a shirt! And come to pie fest!
Jones Falls Jammer
honeysuckle simple syrup:
1 cup honeysuckle flowers
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh mulberries (or blackberries)
1 oz vodka
3 oz club soda
To make your simple syrup, soak honeysuckle in water overnight. Strain, and combine water, sugar, and cinnamon in a pot. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Cool.
To mix the drink, muddle 10-12 mulberries in the bottom of a glass. Add 1 oz syrup, 1 oz vodka, and club soda. Stir together. Top with a wedge of lemon. Enjoy!