The Versatile Muddled Berry Cocktail That Goes With Your Favorite Alcohol

This simple combination makes cocktail hour even sweeter.
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A few weeks back, we had a pint of blackberries in the fridge that were nearing the end of their prime. This discovery happened around cocktail hour, so G took them out and whipped up one of the more refreshing and appealing cocktails I've ever had. Since then, I've been dreaming of the same combination of muddled blackberries with a touch of mint, rum, and seltzer, only to realize that any kind of summer berry plus an herbal accoutrement makes for a simple, festive drink. Now, we (and by "we," I mean G), follow the same equation of Berries + Herb + Booze + Seltzer to create a variety of equally delicious and simple summer cocktails. The combinations are practically limitless and versatile, but I've asked G to share a few ideas below for those who, like me, prefer to follow a recipe when it comes to drinks: 

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5 to 6 ripe blackberries, plus one as garnish
2 to 3 sprigs of mint, plus a sprig as garnish
2 ounces rum
1/2 ounces simple syrup* 
Splash of seltzer
Ice 

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8 to 10 raspberries, plus one as garnish
2 sprigs of rosemary, plus a sprig as garnish
1 1/2 ounces tequila (preferably Blanco)
1/2 ounces rosemary infused simple syrup* (preferred, but you can use regular syrup)
Splash of seltzer

To make the rosemary simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water, add to a small pot, along with the rosemary. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Allow the syrup to cool before using. It will last for a week or so in the fridge. 

(Tip: Add 1/2 oz of vodka to the syrup right after you boil, and it will extend the shelf life to six months in the fridge.)

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4 to 5 very ripe strawberries, plus one as garnish
3 to 4 basil leaves, plus a sprig as garnish
2 ounces vodka
1/4 ounces simple syrup
Splash of seltzer

How to make each drink (each recipe above makes 1 serving): Add the fruit, herb, and syrup (start with a bit less than suggested, as you can always add more to taste) directly to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Muddle until the fruit and herb are crushed. Add alcohol, cover and shake to mix, then serve over ice (I prefer crushed ice—you can use this tray to make it!). Top with a splash of seltzer, add the garnishes, and sip!

*Despite my crazy sweet tooth, I despise a sweet drink, so I find that the sugar from the muddled fruit is a sufficient sweetener. But depending on how sweet you like your drinks, and how ripe your berries are, you may find that you need more or less simple syrup. Start with less, then add to taste. 

The above recipes are flexible, so if you don't have herbs or only have frozen berries, it's absolutely okay to make adjustments! It's simply another way to make cocktail hour fun and festive, while utilizing the produce you have on hand.