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What I Drink: Blackberry Gin and Tonics

Blackberry Gin and TonicBlackberry Gin and TonicBlackberry Gin and Tonic

It’s around 6 o’clock when we begin to get things in order for dinner. As Eric lights the charcoal for the grill, I head into the kitchen to mix drinks. From time to time, we’ll pop open a bottle of wine, but more often than not, it’s gin and tonics.  I take pride in my g+t-making skills, which were picked up by watching Eric during our first years together. I realized early on in our relationship that if I was going to last in this family, I’d have to learn to prepare one properly.  I grab a lime, cut it in half, squeeze the juice into each glass, making sure to get as much of the pulp in that I can. The used wedges are reserved for the end (Eric likes to eat the rind… it’s something I’ve come to accept).  The next step: add the gin. Sometimes it’s measured out in a jigger, but to speed up the process I’ll often just eyeball it. A few handfuls of ice cubes and then topped off with tonic and we’re good to go!

Earlier this summer, I was chatting with Vijay (of Nosh On It) and Brandon (of Kitchen Konfidence) and we came up with the idea to do a series on our favorite cocktails.  We’re calling it “What I Drink,” where, from time to time, we’ll post our favorite drink recipes. Sometimes these will be classics, but we may also give them a little twist. Be sure to check out Vijay’s 1794 and Brandon’s Old Fashioned posts.

Seeing that gin and tonics are what we drink during the summer, I immediately knew that’s what I’d be making. As I explained above, the recipe for a g+t isn’t all that complicated, so I’ve spruced things up here by making a blackberry shrub that replaces the lime juice in the drink

But before you scroll down for the recipe, here’s a little Q+A to give you all a bit more info about why I love gin and tonics and what the heck a shrub is. Hope you enjoy! Cheers.

Blackberry Gin and Tonic

What flavor profile best fits your cocktail? Sweet, fresh, bitter or savory?
What’s great about shrubs is that they’re a combination of sweet (from the sugar and fruit) and tangy (from the vinegar), making for a balanced cocktail.
Why is this drink your favorite?
Well, the gin and tonic is certainly my favorite summer drink and I pretty much only consume it from June through August. It’s a simple drink to prepare and it’s very refreshing.
Do you enjoy variations, or do you just stick to the original recipe?
Often I stick to the original recipe (gin, lime juice, tonic), though, in this case, I played around a bit. I’ve also been known to add a splash of Aperol or bitters to my gin and tonic.
When making cocktails, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received (or read)?
I’m not sure there’s one piece of advice that sticks out. It’s more like a combination of tips and tricks I’ve picked up from watching bartenders. I’ve learned to taste my drink as I add ingredients to see if it needs more sweetness or citrus or something to smooth it out. One bartender told me that you should add the alcohol at the end… or at least the most expensive liquor… because that way if you screw up the drink, you don’t lose the pricier ingredient. Sometimes I’ll follow that rule, but it doesn’t always make sense.
What’s the worst alcoholic beverage you’ve tasted?  Please describe the experience.
When we go out, we tend to hit up places that we know will mix up a well-crafted cocktail. However, there have been a few times when we try out a new place and we’re terribly disappointed by the results. I don’t expect much from a dive bar, but nicer establishments should be able to produce a balanced drink. There have been a couple of occasions when we’re served a drink that’s flat for some reason… it’s missing some acidity or sweetness or, in the worst of circumstances, any discernible booze.

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  • What I Drink: Old Fashioned CocktailAugust 28, 2014 - 9:16 am

    […] Here’s Brian’s Blackberry Gin and Tonic. […]ReplyCancel

  • Averie @ Averie CooksAugust 28, 2014 - 10:18 am

    Brian this is just a gorgeous drink! Clicked over from Brandon’s site to find this beauty. I want it for breakfast :) Pinned!ReplyCancel

  • Giovanna @ Love, Thyme and HoneyAugust 28, 2014 - 10:39 am

    That’s for sure a nice variation to the usual Gin & Tonic. Where else could I use the shrub? It sounds like a syrupy liquid!?ReplyCancel

  • ElizabethAugust 28, 2014 - 11:42 am

    I love these! Ever since I had a blackberry rambler at Sweet Ups in Brooklyn waaay back in the day, I’ve been hooked on blackberry cocktails and I love your restrained, shrubby g&t! Totally going to make a few these over the long weekend.

    I also love the interview! It’s nice to get a glimpse into your day-to-day and the things you look for in a good, or bad, drink. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Cookin CanuckAugust 28, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    Now that’s my kind of g&t! Gorgeous colors with one of my favorite summertime fruits. But…Eric eats the lime rind? I’m still processing that. :)ReplyCancel

  • MonetAugust 29, 2014 - 12:17 am

    Shrubs need to start happening around here. It sounds like my kind of drink addition! This is a beautiful drink, Brian. No doubt delicious too ;-)ReplyCancel

  • […] blackberry gin and tonic. yes yes […]ReplyCancel

  • saraAugust 30, 2014 - 11:52 am

    I so love this! Looks amazing. :)ReplyCancel

  • KateAugust 30, 2014 - 6:36 pm

    I used to hate on tonic water, but I recently found some quality tonic and it makes all the difference! Your blackberry shrub version sounds killer.ReplyCancel

  • Francesca CatanusoAugust 31, 2014 - 11:30 am

    G+T’s are my absolutely favorite. I like mixing them with edleflower sparkling water… do you guys have the around? ReplyCancel

  • DeniseSeptember 3, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    G+T is definitely a summer drink around here, and we have found with our European travels this summer they are BIG over there as well. What I love about your recipe, and the ones we have had in Europe is going outside of the comfort zone with flavors and gins. Digging this shrub as you use balsamic with it. Have been playing with shrubs this summer, and this is the first. The depth must be outstanding!ReplyCancel

  • Erin PereiraSeptember 3, 2014 - 7:58 pm

    How long does the shrub last in the fridge?ReplyCancel

  • AdriSeptember 10, 2014 - 10:34 am

    I am so pleased that shrubs have made a comeback. I remember them from years ago. They add such depth of flavor and your Blackberry Shrub breathes new life into the classic Gin and Tonic. I have really enjoyed these cocktail posts from you and your two blogging pals. Bravi!ReplyCancel

  • JulieOctober 3, 2014 - 12:00 am


  • […] Gin & Tonic, com amoras! Receita aqui. […]ReplyCancel

  • What I Drink - The Cider Mill CocktailDecember 18, 2014 - 8:01 am

    […] almost didn’t happen. Vijay, Brandon and I had talked a few weeks ago about doing another What I Drink post, since we had such a blast with the first one. We’re a few guys who not only love food, […]ReplyCancel

  • What I Drink: Apple & Quince SparklerDecember 18, 2014 - 8:01 am

    […] our go-to cocktails, including an Old Fashioned (made with Vanilla Sugar), a 1794 Cocktail, and a Blackberry Gin and Tonic.  Today, we’re sharing a number of alcoholic beverages perfect for a New Year’s Eve […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and make yourself a delicious drink […]ReplyCancel

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