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Use fresh Hudson Valley berries in these refreshing summer cocktails, including mojitos, boozy lemonades, and more.
Summer weather is in full swing, and the Valley’s many fruits are ripe for the picking. But before you grab your basket and head out for the usual blueberries, you may want to think about mixing it up a bit.
While apricots and blackberries are often overlooked, these little gems are in season throughout the summer, and savvy chefs and barkeeps in the Hudson Valley know that even a handful of these fruits can enhance everything from entrées to desserts to the most chichi cocktails. A few local establishments shared some of their favorite berry recipes with us.
Blackberry Herb Mojito by The Garrison
This seasonal berry cocktail uses ingredients from various local growers. “Turn up some Calypso or Reggae music, and let the good times be,” says James Brown, restaurant and beverage manager of the Garrison. “Our local garden-based cocktails are very popular.”
1½-2 oz light/medium rum
2 oz honey syrup
Muddle lime wedges, blackberries, spearmint, and basil.
Fill shaker glass with ice and add the light/medium rum.
Add honey syrup and muddle mixture.
Shake well and strain into tall Collins or highball glass.
Garnish with mint leaves and lime wheel.
Black Currant Bourbon Lemonade by Gigi Hudson Valley
“It’s a pretty popular drink here,” says owner Laura Pensiero of the berry-filled beverage. “Most summer cocktails go to vodka or gin, but it’s nice to have the more substantial brown liquor but on the lighter side, more like a lemonade.”
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz CurrantC currant purée
½ oz cardamom syrup
¼ oz fresh lemon juice
Splash of cava
Fill a Collins glass with ice, add currant purée (Gigi stays local and uses currants from CurrantC in Staatsburg), cardamom syrup, fresh lemon juice, and bourbon.
Stir and top with cava or Prosecco.
Garnish with fresh Hudson Valley blackberries and a lemon slice. This ain’t your grandma’s lemonade, folks!
The Nyack Gentleman by Prohibition River
“Out of our whole cocktail menu, this is probably the most popular,” says owner Oliver Cullen of the berry-centric sipper. This blackberry must-have is an easy-to-make cocktail that doesn’t stick to the rules. Add a little or a lot, but don’t skimp on the blackberries; those little guys bring out all the flavor.
2 oz bourbon
Sprigs of mint
Mix a few splashes of lemon juice and bourbon, then throw in the mint and blackberries.
Shake and pour over fresh ice.
Add mint garnish.