Summer vacation. You are on a quiet beach under a cloudless sky, laying on a soft towel, the sun drying you off after a quick dip in the warm ocean water. Behind you is a rugged mountain, lush with tropical plants and towering trees bursting with life, bright neon green from the frequent rains. The only sounds are the gentle surf and native birds singing in the distance as you rest your eyes. Your trip has just begun and your only plans for the rest of the day are to relax on the sand and get ready for tonight’s sunset dinner. You take a deep breath, opening your eyes to find yourself sitting in a plastic lounge chair at your neighbor’s backyard barbecue party. No one is staring at you, and it appears as if just seconds have passed. What just happened? What is in this magical icy beverage you are holding in your hand, glowing a deep amethyst and infusing the air with fresh citrus and mint? How did it transport you to paradise and where can you find more of these? There are lots of unknowns in this world, but thankfully we have the answers to your curious questions.
Don’t be fooled by its name: this is not an overly-sweet cocktail. It is tangy, refreshing, and perfectly balanced. Plump, juicy blackberries are muddled with cool mint leaves and mixed with freshly-squeezed lime juice. Sparkling ginger beer is poured over the top, giving this fruit-filled summer beverage a satisfying bubbly fizz. A splash of vanilla simple syrup using a real vanilla bean adds a delicate sweetness to the tart berries, bright lime, and ginger, and using silver or gold tequila turns this Cuban-influenced mojito into a flavorful fusion fiesta. But what will really make you want to dance the salsa is the lime mint sugar that rims the glasses of these beautiful tropical coolers. We had some left from the epic cake we posted about last week and this zesty, minty, and sweet topping turned out to be the perfect final touch to these strikingly vibrant refreshments.
This cocktail is perfect for summer parties. All the components can be made in advance. The lime mint sugar can be prepped a week ahead, and making the vanilla simple syrup is as easy as combining water, sugar, and a vanilla bean in a small pan. Once the party has begun and you’re ready to mix up some mojitos, you just muddle some fresh berries and mint, stir it all together, take your first sip, and set sail for paradise. Maybe just… make sure you’re sitting down first.
We have some fun news! Today we will be taking over the feedfeed snapchat at 10am PST and showing you how to make these delicious cocktails! Tune in to see behind-the-scenes shenanigans and at least one video of our pretty, pumpkin-loving kitty Sylvia. If you don’t use snapchat, the full video will be posted soon on the feedfeed website. (Update: The video is now available!) We will be taking over their snapchat every week for the next month, so check us out for weekly Summer cocktail inspiration! Cheers! xoxo, Adam & Ryan
Blackberry Vanilla Tequila Mojito
lime mint sugar recipe adapted from Layered
For the lime mint sugar rim:
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon chopped packed mint leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest (about 1 lime)
For the vanilla simple syrup:
(makes 1 1/2 cups of vanilla simple syrup, enough for about 24 drinks)
1 cup (235ml) water
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
For each cocktail:
7 blackberries (about 30g)
2 large mint leaves
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon / 15ml) freshly-squeezed lime juice, about 1/2 a lime
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon / 15ml) vanilla simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons / 45ml) silver or gold tequila
4 ounces (1/2 cup / 118ml) ginger beer
lime mint sugar rim
mint leaves and blackberries for garnish
Make the lime mint sugar:
In a food processor, pulse the sugar, mint, and lime zest until the mint is finely minced. Use immediately, or transfer to a container for storage at room temperature for up to a week.
Make the vanilla simple syrup:
In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, then use a small paring knife to scrape the seeds out. Place the black seeds in the pan, then whisk briefly to break up any clumps. Add the bean pods, then place over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture just approaches a simmer, remove the pan from heat, cover, and let steep until cool. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, and place in a bottle or jar for storage. The syrup will last for up to a week in the fridge.
Make the cocktail:
Place a few tablespoons of lime mint sugar on a small plate. Rub the edge of an old-fashioned or highball glass with a cut lime, then invert the glass and rub the wet rim in the lime mint sugar, coating it evenly. Place the blackberries in the glass, then muddle them briefly. Add the 2 mint leaves and muddle them as well. Add the lime juice, vanilla syrup, and tequila, and stir. Add ice, then pour the ginger beer on top. Stir gently, then top with a mint leaf and a few blackberries. Enjoy!
— There will be lime mint sugar left over, so keep it for future use with other cocktails and desserts.
— The vanilla simple syrup makes enough for 24 drinks, but it’s also delicious in coffee, and even on pancakes.
— We also tested this recipe with vodka instead of tequila, and it was delicious!